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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Carnivorous Plant Ejects Junk DNA
12 May 2013 1:00 pm
The carnivorous humped bladderwort (Utricularia gibba), found on all continents except Antarctica, is a model of ruthless genetic efficiency. Only 3% of this aquatic plant's DNA is not part of a known gene, new research shows. In contrast, only 2% of human DNA is part of a gene. The bladderwort, named for its water-filled bladders (shown left) that suck in unsuspecting prey, is a relative of the tomato. Since their evolutionary split 87 million years ago, both plants have experienced episodes of genetic duplication where the plants' DNA doubled in size. But while the tomato has held onto a lot of those duplicates, the bladderwort has thrown out anything it doesn't need, and now has a genome only a tenth as long as the tomato's. The finding, published online today in Nature, overturns the notion that this repetitive, non-coding DNA, popularly called "junk" DNA, is necessary for life.
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Correction, 13 May at 10:45 a.m.: The bladderwort and tomato evolutionary split occurred 87 million years ago, not 87,000.