Long-read sequencing uncovers the adaptive topography of a carnivorous plant genome

Our carnivorous bladderwort genome paper came out today in PNAS!

“Carnivorous plants capture and digest animal prey for nutrition. In addition to being carnivorous, the humped bladderwort plant, Utricularia gibba, has the smallest reliably assembled flowering plant genome. We generated an updated genome assembly based on single-molecule sequencing to address questions regarding the bladderwort’s genome adaptive landscape. Among encoded genes, we segregated those that could be confidently distinguished as having derived from small-scale versus whole-genome duplication processes and showed that conspicuous expansions of gene families useful for prey trapping and processing derived mainly from localized duplication events. Such small-scale, tandem duplicates are therefore revealed as essential elements in the bladderwort’s carnivorous adaptation.” Read the entire manuscript here.

Provost’s Award for Best Poster

Undergraduate researchers Zach Johnston and Nick Elliott win the Provost’s Award for the best poster at the San Diego State University Student Research Symposium (SRS). Poster title: “Molecular Evolution and Expression of Defense Genes Underlying Plant Carnivory”. Way to go! The SRS is a two-day event recognizing the outstanding scholarly accomplishments of SDSU students. Find out more about the San Diego State University’s SRS.

Feature on Carnivorous Plants

The Renner Lab provided content related to carnivorous plants and their digestive fluid for Atlas Obscura‘s article featuring man-eating plant myths: “Once the idea of a giant, flesh-eating plant enters the imagination, it can be hard to dislodge. Imagine this: you’re in the jungle, and you discover a plant with surprisingly large, tentacle-like leaves. The clearing is full of a heavy, sweet smell. Maybe there’s an animal skeleton under the plant. Did the leaves move? Was that just the wind? You move closer, and the plant seems to yearn towards you….” Read the full article on Atlas Obscura’s webpage.

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Nepenthes rajah (Photo: Wikimedia)

 

‘Independent Co-Option Of A Tailed Bacteriophage Into A Killing Complex In Pseudomonas’ Manuscript Published!

Collaborative manuscript with University of Arizona (Kevin Hockett and Dave Baltrus, School of Plant Sciences) ‘Independent Co-option of a Tailed Bacteriophage into a Killing Complex in Pseudomonas‘ was published in mBio today!
See the full paper here:
 http://mbio.asm.org/content/6/4/e00452-15Picture

Collaborative research featured on BacterioFiles Podcast

Our collaborative research (with Kevin Hockett and David Baltrus, U. Arizona) was featured on a recent BacterioFiles Podcast: “Bacteria have repeatedly captured and used the tails of phages to fight each other!” Listen to us talk about the Independent Co-Option of a Tailed Bacteriophage into a Killing Complex in Pseudomonas.

Listen to the podcast here.

Carnivorous Plant Research Featured on BBC Earth

BBC Earth article “Giant Plants that Eat Meat”, presented by Cat Adams/BBC Campus, examines pitcher plant morphology, digestive enzymes, and unique associations with mammals. Tanya Renner’s research of carnivorous plant digestive enzymes and their similarity to plant defense proteins are featured. Read the article here

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A frog finds a risky perch (credit: Maximilian Weinzierl/Alamy)

Harvard University Visit

Tanya visited Harvard University to give a seminar for the Cambridge Entomological Club. She also had a chance to visit with Dr. Naomi Pierce, Shayla Salzman, and Dr. Leonora Bittleston in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology.
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Beautiful poster created by Andrea Golden, CEC secretary/poster designer.

Amanda Romaine Presents at Evolution 2014

Tanya and undergraduate researcher Amanda Romaine are going to Evolution 2014! Please stop by Amanda’s poster on “The implications of life history on the molecular evolution of chemoreception in predatory paussine beetles”, research supported by NIH and the PERT program at the University of Arizona.

Update: We had a great time at Evolution 2014! Amanda had many people visit her poster and Tanya’s paussine chemosensory talk was well attended. We even had a chance to visit some carnivorous plants in the wild at the Green Swamp.Picture