C value paradox

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The C-value paradox is the term given to the problem that has arisen from a non-linear relationship between the number of genes in a eukaryotic organism and the size of its genome. Genome size does not directy relate to organism complexity. For example some prokaryotes contain larger genomes than humans, but contain far fewer genes. 

The main reason for this is the high proportion of non-coding DNA in eukaryotic organisms, although the function of much of this unexpressed DNA is unknown[1][2][3]


  1. Gregory, T.R. (2005). Animal Genome Size Database. http://www.genomesize.com.
  2. Boyle, J., 2008. Molecular biology of the cell, 5th edition by B. Alberts, A. Johnson, J. Lewis, M. Raff, K. Roberts, and P. Walter, Available at: http://content.wkhealth.com/linkback/openurl?sid=WKPTLP:landingpage&an=00024382-200807000-00020\nhttp://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/bmb.20192. Page 331.
  3. Gregory, T.R., 2001. Coincidence, coevolution, or causation? DNA content, cell size, and the C-value enigma. Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 76, pp.65–101.
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