Friday, February 2, 2018

The Smiling Axolotl Hides a Secret: A Giant Genome

With 32 billion base pairs, the axolotl, also known as the Mexican salamander, is the largest genome ever sequenced! To put into perspective, that is ten times the size of the human genome, in which the human genome is already very complex. This creature is on the endangered list, however they are breeded in the laboratories because of their body’s unique structures and functions. Axolotl are able to repair broken parts of their bodies and regrow lost limbs, just as good of quality as before. For an example, “this salamander can heal a crushed spinal cord and have it function just like it before it was damaged.” These qualities are what make this specific animal incredibly interesting and worth researching. With this research, scientist can manipulate the genes of an axolotl and better understand how the genome effects cell behavior.

I think this discovery is fascinating because it opens a door of opportunity for researchers just like it did for those who studied Drosophila melanogaster and won a nobel prize. Also, it is amazing that with today’s advanced technology, genome sequence is becoming more easy and accessible. As a science major, I am excited and curious to see the next coming results after they further research the genes.


  1. Great Article!! I think it is interesting too! And the Salamander is kinda cute!

  2. Not only is it helpful for future research, but it's cute as well!