March 21, 2014
Scientists say they’ve generated the longest genome sequence to date, unraveling the genetic code of the loblolly pine tree.
Conifers have been around since the age of the dinosaurs and they have some of the biggest genomes of all living things.
Native to the U.S. Southeast, the loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) can grow over 100 feet (30 meters) tall and it has a lengthy genome to match, with 23 billion base pairs. That’s more than seven times the size of the human genome, which has 3 billion base pairs. (These pairs form sequences called genes that tell cells how to make proteins.)