Guess what The Potato Genome Sequencing Consortium is up to these days?

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scientists-sequencing-potato-dna.jpgIt is sequencing the DNA of a potato.

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.

(Via Reuters)

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Gary Cutlack

3 comments

  • Just to correct your post, the ammount of DNA a species has relates to how old it is (generally) rather than how complex. The majority of the DNA in any species is completly redundent and does nothing. As a result there are many vegetables with more DNA than humans. Actually there are some vegetables with DNA which is over 60% the same as humans, its just some very important strands determine exactly how the rest of the DNA interact with each other(if the majority of DNA are instructions on making screws and wooden planks, the important bits are the instructions which determine whether they form an aeroplane or cupboard.)

    • I know some people who have about 80% of the same DNA used in vegetables. Perhaps I should alert the science community?

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