CRG: Carnivorous plant throws out ‘junk’ DNA

CRG: Carnivorous plant throws out ‘junk’ DNA

News from CRG

The large majority of noncoding DNA, which is abundant in many living things, may not actually be needed for complex life, according to research set to appear in the journal Nature. The clues lie in the genome of the carnivorous bladderwort plant, Utricularia gibba. Its genome is the smallest ever to be sequenced from a complex, multicellular plant. The researchers who sequenced it say that 97 percent of the genome consists of genes — bits of DNA that code for proteins — and small pieces of DNA that control those genes.

It appears that the plant has been busy deleting noncoding “junk” DNA from its genetic material over many generations, the scientists say. This may explain the difference between bladderworts and junk-heavy species like corn and tobacco — and humans.

André E. Minoche and Heinz Himmelbauer from the Genomics Unit at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona participated in this international research project, which was led by the Laboratorio Nacional de Genómica para la Biodiversidad (LANGEBIO) in Mexico.

More information:
CRG press release

Ibarra-Laclette et al. Architecture and evolution of a minute plant genome. Nature, May 12th. DOI:10.1038/nature12132