Largest Genome Ever Sequenced: 32 Billion Base Pairs
Posted 06 February 2018 - 06:43 PM
- Elly Tanaka, Ph.D., Sr. Scientist, Research Institute
of Molecular Pathology, Vienna, Austria
Axolotl, a Mexican amphibian salamander that has
miraculous tissue repair abilities and has the largest genome
ever sequenced: 32 billion base pairs! That's 10 times the
size of the human genome. Its genetic secrets might help
human medicine. Image by Research Inst.of Molecular Pathology.
Like a miracle creature, the axolotl amphibian salamander from Mexico is famous for “walking” on its cute arms and legs and being able to regrow those appendages if they get cut off, including bones, muscles and nerves. If the axolotl is wounded, it can heal without a scar. This amazing creature can even regenerate its own damaged internal organs. And if something crushes its spinal cord, the axolotl can restore its spinal cord to full function.
Most salamanders are able to regenerate body structures to some extent. But the axolotl is unique in that it can regenerate not only limbs, but also its jaws, spinal cord, and more. After these body parts regenerate, there is no evidence of scarring.
These remarkable resurrection abilities have made scientists wonder what its genetic code looks like and finally for the first time scientists used two genetic gene sequencing techniques to analyze and proof read their gene results. Axolotls can even receive transplanted organs from other individuals and accept them without rejection. They are one thousand times more resistant to cancer than mammals. Can scientist learn enough about the genetic makeup of the axolotls to apply their resurrection abilities to human medicine?
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