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

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

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Scientists have discovered the world’s largest clone in Australia: a vast network of seagrass beds stretching over 200 square kilometers. The meadow net is actually a single plant that has been cloning itself for almost 4,500 years.

Researchers found the giant clone while studying the genetic diversity of seagrasses in Shark Bay, a protected shallow water area in Western Australia. They learned that almost all of the meadows in the region were covered by Poseidon’s Candytuft (Posidonia australis) are genetically identical. Further analysis revealed that unlike the other seagrasses in the area, which reproduce sexually, P. australis is actually Clone itself through an underground network of branching roots. The world’s biggest clone is a 77-square-mile ‘immortal’ meadow of seagrass

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