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Plant DNA C-Values Database

The Plant DNA C-values database provides an internet resource where DNA C-values (genome size) for plant species can be accessed and compared.

Chromosomes of Arabidopsis thaliana (A, 1C = 157 Megabases, Mb) and Fritillaria assyriaca (B, 1C = 62,000 Mb) both at the same magnification reflect a c. 400-fold difference in genome size.

The Plant DNA C-values database ( provides a one-stop user friendly electronic database where DNA C-values (genome size) for plant species can be readily accessed and compared. It represents the product of RBG Kew’s continued commitment to make this key biodiversity character widely and easily available to the scientific community.

The database was launched in 2001 by combining the Angiosperm and Pteridophyte DNA C-values databases and adding data for gymnosperms and bryophytes. In 2004, C-values for algae were made available through the addition of the Algal DNA C-values database. Since its launch it has been updated four times, most recently in 2010 when 1908 new values were added. The current release (release 5.0, December 2010) contains genome size data for 7058 species comprising 6287 angiosperms, 204 gymnosperms, 82 monilophytes and lycopods, 232 bryophytes and 253 algae. A new release, planned for late 2011, will add new genome size data for over 1000 species of angiosperms, gymnosperms, monilophytes, bryophytes and algae, c. 700 of which have not been previously listed.

The database is widely used. Since its launch the database has received over 280,000 hits from over 60 countries, and usage has been increasing. The number of hits received per day has more than doubled from c. 45 hits per day in 2002, to over 100 in 2011. Further, large data sets have been downloaded for broad scale comparative studies across a diverse range of biological disciplines including evolution, ecology, plant physiology, conservation and environmental studies and the database is extensively used in publications. It is also used by molecular biologists needing to know the genome size for complete genome and other sequencing projects, and by conservation geneticists who require information on genome size to optimize experiments for assessing genetic diversity within and between populations.
As the database is compiled from published and unpublished sources, updating the database is an ongoing project necessitating the location and entry of new data when it becomes available. Further updates are planned on a regular basis. Currently, the input of new C-values into the database is being undertaken by a Kew volunteer under the guidance of the project leader.


Key publications 2006-2011

Bennett, M.D. & Leitch, I.J. (2011). Nuclear DNA amounts in angiosperms - targets, trends and tomorrow. Annals of Botany 107: 467-590.

Whitney, K.D., Baack, E.J., Hamrick, J.L., Godt, M.J.W., Barringer, B.C., Bennett, M.D., Eckert, C.G., Goodwillie, C., Kalisz, S., Leitch, I.J. & Ross-Ibarra, J. (2010). A role for nonadaptive processes in plant genome size evolution? Evolution 64: 2097-2109.

Beaulieu, J.M., Smith, S. & Leitch, I.J. (2010). On the tempo of genome size evolution in angiosperms. Journal of Botany 2010 Article ID 989152, 8 pages.

Beaulieu, J.M., Leitch, I.J., Patel, S., Pendharkar, A. & Knight, C.A. (2008). Genome size is a strong predictor of cell size and stomatal density in angiosperms. New Phytologist 179: 975–986.

Gregory, T.R., Nicol, J.A., Tamm, H., Kullman, B., Kullman, K., Leitch, I.J., Murray, B.G., Kapraun, D.F., Greilhuber, J., Bennett, M.D. (2007). Eukaryotic genome size databases. Nucleic Acids Research 35 (Database issue): D332-D338.

Project partners and collaborators


Institute of Botany, University of Vienna


University of Guelph


University of North Carolina

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT

New ZealandUniversity of Auckland

Dept. of Biology, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis, University of Oslo

Project team

Jodrell Laboratory

Mike Bennett (Honorary Research Fellow), Mike Fay, Ilia Leitch, Jaume Pellicer

Science Teams: 
Project Leader: