Credit: Enrique Ibarra-Laclette, Claudia Anahí Pérez-Torresand Paulina Lozano-Sotomayor
Great, wonderful, wacky things can come in small genomic packages.
That’s one lesson to be learned from the carnivorous bladderwort, a plant whose tiny genome turns out to be a jewel box full of evolutionary treasures.
Called Utricularia gibba by scientists, the bladderwort is a marvel of nature. It lives in an aquatic environment. It has no recognizable roots. It boasts floating, thread-like branches, along with miniature traps that use vacuum pressure to capture prey.
A new study in the scientific journal Molecular Biology and Evolution breaks down the plant’s genetic makeup, and finds a fascinating story.
According to the research, the bladderwort houses more genes than several well-known plant species, such as grape, coffee or papaya—despite having a much smaller genome.
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