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Abstract Detail

Evolution, Ecology, Development, And Genomics Of Carnivorous Plants

Scharmann, Mathias [1], Widmer, Alex [2].

Evolution of carnivory genes in the recent radiation of Nepenthes.

Plant evolutionary biology has learned much about unusual traits from the comparative study of independent trait origins. In carnivorous plants, such approaches focusing on the molecular level suggested that many genes adapted for carnivory are derived from the pathogen defense mechanisms of non-carnivorous plants and show remarkable cases of sequence convergence. However, it is less well explored how the carnivorous syndrome continued to evolve after becoming established. Some carnivorous plant lineages are very species-rich and morphologically diverse, provoking the question whether carnivory had a prominent adaptive role during evolutionary radiation, or alternatively, was largely conserved as a trait with little potential for functional diversification. This issue was addressed at the molecular level in Nepenthes pitcher plants, using transcriptomics and proteomics. First, novel secreted proteins were discovered in Nepenthes digestive fluid, and further genes with downstream functions in carnivory were identified as their gene expression level increased when the plants were fed with prey. Second, Nepenthes transcriptomes were tested for signatures of selection at the coding sequence and the regulatory (gene expression) levels. The results indicate that thousands of genes were targeted by positive selection during the Nepenthes radiation, and the hypothesis that carnivory genes evolved under different selection regimes than other genes was tested.

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1 - ETH Zurich, Institute of Integrative Biology, Universitaetstrasse 16, Zurich, 8092, Switzerland
2 - ETH Zurich, Environmental Systems Science, Universitaetstr. 16, CHN G 21.1, Zurich, ZH, 8092, Switzerland

carnivorous plant
molecular evolution

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Session: SY1, Evolution, ecology, development, and genomics of carnivorous plants
Location: 107/Mayo Civic Center
Date: Monday, July 23rd, 2018
Time: 11:15 AM
Number: SY1008
Abstract ID:644
Candidate for Awards:None

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