Uncovering the Genetic Code of a Carnivorous Plant

August 22, 2016

Professor Rachel W. Martin, Chemistry and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, and her collaborator Professor Carter T. Butts, Sociology and Statistics, have sequenced the genome of the carnivorous plant, Drosera capensis, which is related to the Venus flytrap, and is the first plant to be sequenced from the order Caryophyllales.  Information gained from other carnivorous plants has been valuable, as the biology of carnivorous plants requires them to develop unique protease enzymes, some of which have been technologically useful for other applications.  In addition to sequencing the Drosera capensis plant, Professors Martin and Butts used the plant’s genomic code to discover several novel protease sequences that may be useful in future technological tools.

Other researchers that contributed to the study were: Jan Bierma, Xuhong Zhang, John Kelly, Kyle Roskamp, Megha Unhelkar, J. Alfredo Freites, and Seemal Tahir.