The genome of the Venus flytrap, Dionaea muscipula - a blueprint of a carnivorous plant
The Venus flytrap is one of these little miracles of evolution, that already puzzled Charles Darwin more than one and a half centuries ago. The plant's highly advanced trap mechanism and digestion system are exceptional, even amongst carnivorous plants. With an estimated size of 3 Gbp the flytrap also possesses a large and challenging genome. Its sequence provides the basis for the understanding the roots and the evolution of the plants carnivorous traits and, in particular, the origins of the many molecular and metabolic adaptations - which in terms of uniqueness fall nothing short of their much more obvious morphological counterparts. To handle the highly repetitive nature of the genome, likely brought about by recent burst of transposable elements, we are devising a innovative hybrid sequencing and assembly strategy. Our goal is to integrate advantages of high-throughput short read sequencing and single molecule long read sequencing technologies. With the establishment of such an assembly strategy on a project of this scale and with detailed insights on the genetic markup of this model flesh eating plant, we are pushing frontiers of computational as well as evolutionary biology.