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July 2, 2015

Light micrograph of the bladder of a carnivorous bladderwort plant (Image 2)

A scanning electron micrograph (with color added) of the bladder of a humped bladderwort plant ( Utricularia gibba ). The plant is a voracious carnivore, with its tiny, 1 millimeter-long bladders leveraging vacuum pressure to suck in tiny prey at great speed.

A study by researchers at the University at Buffalo (UB) found that this plant has more genes than several well-known species such as grape, coffee or papaya -- despite having a much smaller genome. The work builds on past research by various team members which found that the bladderwort's genome was comprised almost entirely of useful, functional genes and their controlling elements, in contrast to species like humans, whose genomes are more than 90 percent "junk DNA."

This research was supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation (IOS 09-22742).

To learn more, see the UB news story Carnivorous plant packs big wonders into tiny genome. (Date of Image: 2013) [See related image Here.]

Credit: Enrique Ibarra-Laclette, Claudia Anahí Pérez-Torres and Paulina Lozano-Sotomayor

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