The Largest Genome Ever Sequenced Belongs To This Common Pine Tree

Scientists have finished unraveling the largest genome ever sequenced. The genome of the loblolly pine encompasses just under 23 billion base pairs — seven times more than the human genome.

The loblolly pine knocked the previous record holder, the Norway Spruce, off its perch by about an additional 2 billion base pairs, to become the world's largest sequenced genome. Despite being the longest genetic epic that scientists have written thus far, the sequenced genome of the loblolly may not be much of a page turner — 82% of the code is made up of repeating genetic information.

Still, the loblolly pine should probably enjoy its time at the top while it can — the team of scientists, also say that they're already working on the genome of the sugar pine, which they think will span even longer.

You can check out the full paper, published in Genome Biology by a team led by Steven Salzberg of Johns Hopkins University and James Yorke at the University of Maryland, here.

Image: Loblolly pines / USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service