Ferns aren't normal. They're similar to mushrooms in that they reproduce by releasing clouds of spores. Most species don't need a partner for fertilization. About 400 million years ago, plants split from each other, according to recent studies.

The fern genome is large. These strange genomes have been neglected by researchers despite their unique nature. More than 200 flowering plant genomes were more or less the same as the two fern genomes. The first full tree fern genome, that of the flying spider-monkey tree, is the first example of how fern plants accumulate large sets of genes.

If you want to understand the origin of seeds or flowers, fern are a very important comparison to make. Why the fern genomes are so large is what I want to know.


The palm tree has more than six billion DNA base pairs, a billion more than the average genome for flowering plants. According to the new analysis, the ancestors of this fern may have duplicated their whole genome more than 100 million years ago.

It is not known why tree ferns keep so much genetic material. The Marie Kondo hypothesis is that this species might be carrying too many genes. The chromosomes don't spark joy for seeds. He says that a large genome can help plants reproduce asexually. The retained genetic material may have contributed to the slow evolution of the fern.

Jan de Vries, a plant evolutionary biologist at the University of Gttingen in Germany, was not involved in the project. A tinkerer is evolution. He says that illuminating what workablemolecular programs have evolved tells us what is biologically possible. We can use this knowledge to tinker ourselves for synthetic biological purposes.