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Tmesipteris Oblanceolate


New research shows that a fork fern species, called Tmesipteris oblanceolata, has a genome that is 7% larger than that of the previous record-holder, the Japanese flowering plant Paris japonica, and more than 50 times the size of the human genome.


Facts for Prelims

About Tmesipteris oblanceolate:

Habitat and Distribution:

  • A rare species of fern growing primarily on the ground or atop fallen tree trunks.
  • Found on the island nation of New Caledonia (an overseas French territory in the Southwest Pacific) and neighboring islands such as Vanuatu.

Physical Characteristics:

  • A small plant, typically 10-15 centimeters (4-6 inches) in height.

Genomic Significance:

  • Holds a record-breaking genome size of 160.45 billion base pairs (Gbp).
  • This is 11 billion more than the previous record holder, the Japanese flowering plant Paris japonica, and 50 times more than the human genome.
  • If stretched out, the DNA in each cell of this fern would extend nearly 350 feet (106 meters), while the human genome would extend only about 6-1/2 feet (2 meters).

Evolutionary Background:

  • Tmesipteris is a small genus of ferns whose ancestors evolved about 350 million years ago, well before dinosaurs set foot on Earth.

Habitat Characteristics:

  • Distinguished by its mainly epiphytic habit, meaning it grows mainly on the trunks and branches of trees.
  • Has a restricted distribution in Oceania and several Pacific Islands.
What are Ferns?

General Characteristics:

  • Plants that do not have flowers.
  • Have roots, stems, and leaves similar to flowering plants.


  • Unlike flowering plants, ferns do not have flowers or seeds.
  • They usually reproduce sexually by tiny spores or can sometimes reproduce vegetatively.

-Source: The Hindu

June 2024