ScienceThe world's biggest clone is a 77-square-mile 'immortal' meadow...

The world’s biggest clone is a 77-square-mile ‘immortal’ meadow of seagrass


A section of one of the seagrass meadows that make up the world’s largest clone. Every blade belongs to the same plant. (Image credit: Rachel Austin, University of Western Australia)

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Scientists have discovered the world’s biggest clone in Australia: A massive network of seagrass meadows that covers more than 77 square miles (200 square kilometers). The network of meadows is actually one single plant that has been continually cloning itself for almost 4,500 years. 

Researchers found the enormous clone while studying the genetic diversity of seagrasses in Shark Bay, a protected body of shallow water in Western Australia. They learned that almost all the region’s meadows of Poseidon’s ribbon weed (Posidonia australis) are genetically identical. Further analysis revealed that unlike the other seagrasses in the area, which reproduce sexually, P. australis is actually cloning itself through an underground network of branching roots.



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