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Antarctic fly has world's tiniest insect genome

Richard E. Lee Jr.

Antarctic fly has world's tiniest insect genome

A wingless midge from Antarctica has the smallest insect genome sequenced to date, BBC reports. The only true insect that lives on the Antarctic continent, Belgica antarctica has just 99 million base pairs of nucleotides (DNA’s building blocks) in its genome, compared with 3.2 billion for humans. The researchers, who report their findings today in Nature Communications, suggest the extremophile’s small genome may be an adaptation to the cold, dry conditions of Antarctica.

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