THE BLADDERWORT – Genetic Superstar
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]
- The photograph at the top shows the valve and four sensory trichomes that serve as trigger hairs, and with desmids caught inside the trap
- Showing “mouth”
- Four trigger hairs (trichomes) visible in the center of the mouth
- 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 …
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.