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THE BLADDERWORT – Genetic Superstar
Utricularia gibba
A tiny plant with lots of genes and very little non-coding DNA

Utricularia gibba – the humped or floating bladderwort – is a small, mat-forming species of carnivorous aquatic bladderwort. [Wikipedia]  

  1. The photograph at the top shows the valve and four sensory trichomes that serve as trigger hairs, and with desmids caught  inside the trap
  2. Showing “mouth”
  3. Four trigger hairs (trichomes) visible in the center of the mouth
  4. Trap entrance with bulbochaete at 12 and 4 o’clock, desmid at 2 o’clock

Micrography by Igor Siwanowicz  (via photo.net)

Read about the Bladderwort’s sophisticated trap in Wikipedia …
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GENETICS
In 2013, the genome of U. gibba was sequenced. At only 82 megabases, the genome is exceptionally small for a multicellular plant.  Despite its size, the genome accommodates 28,500 genes – more than plants with much larger genomes.  

The main difference between other plant genomes and that of U. gibba is a drastic reduction in non-coding DNA. Only 3% of the plant’s DNA is not part of a gene or material that controls those genes, in contrast to human DNA which is 98.5% non-coding.

Read more:  Wikipedia and also Wikipedia …
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