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November 21st, 2009:

Of course plants are more genetically complex!

Let’s remember back to a time before the human genome project published it’s first draft assembly in 2001. The genome of C. elegans a tiny nematode had already been published with ~20,000 genes. The C. elegans genome is one 1/30 the size of the human genome and the tiny worms are so small that biologists have mapped the developmental fate of every single cell in their bodies (an adult C. elegans has exactly 959 or 1031 cells depending on gender), whereas the human body contains tens of trillions. How many genes would you guess humans have?

Estimates at the time ranged from 40,000 to 150,000 genes. (more…)

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