Solanum tuberosum potatoes have 48 chromosomes, while humans have just 46. The Solanum tuberosum species is the widest-grown species of potato worldwide and is a tetraploid, which means that it has four sets of chromosomes. Most human cells are diploid, which means that they have only two sets. Other types of potatoes have fewer chromosomes, including four kinds of potatoes that are diploid like humans.
More facts about potatoes and chromosomes:
- Gorillas have the same number of chromosomes as potatoes do. So do beavers, chimpanzees, deer mice and tobacco.
- The number of sets of chromosomes in a cell is called ploidy, which can vary within organisms themselves as well as between species. For instance, human reproduction cells are haploid, which means that they have only one set of chromosomes, while most other cells in humans are diploid. Some organisms have up to 12 sets of chromosomes per cell, like the Uganda clawed frog and Japanese persimmons.
- A swamp wallaby has fewer chromosomes than some types of mold.