The Potato Genome Sequencing Consortium, who we would very much like to work for, reckons it will have the white potato perfectly sequenced by 2010, which will help with things like making them grow in the apocalyptic desert wastelands of the future.
It’s not an easy task – even something as seemingly simple as a potato is made up of 840 million DNA pairs. One pair tells it how thick the skin is. One pair tells it what leaves to grow. Another pair is in charge of telling it to grow the potatoes underground instead of on branches in the sky. Another pair tells it to grow upwards. You get the idea.
Humans have 3 billion DNA pairs, thanks to being markedly better than potatoes, although it’s still taking a group of scientists from 13 countries two-and-a-half years to work it out how a potato works.