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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The miniature genome of a carnivorous plant Genlisea aurea contains a low number of genes and short non-coding sequences

Evgeny V Leushkin12, Roman A Sutormin1, Elena R Nabieva1, Aleksey A Penin123, Alexey S Kondrashov14 and Maria D Logacheva15*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Bioengineering and Bioinformatics, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskye Gory 1-73, Moscow 119992, Russia

2 Institute for Information Transmission Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow 127994, Russia

3 Department of Genetics, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow 119992, Russia

4 Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Life Sciences Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA

5 A.N. Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia

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BMC Genomics 2013, 14:476  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-476

Published: 15 July 2013



Genlisea aurea (Lentibulariaceae) is a carnivorous plant with unusually small genome size - 63.6 Mb – one of the smallest known among higher plants. Data on the genome sizes and the phylogeny of Genlisea suggest that this is a derived state within the genus. Thus, G. aurea is an excellent model organism for studying evolutionary mechanisms of genome contraction.


Here we report sequencing and de novo draft assembly of G. aurea genome. The assembly consists of 10,687 contigs of the total length of 43.4 Mb and includes 17,755 complete and partial protein-coding genes. Its comparison with the genome of Mimulus guttatus, another representative of higher core Lamiales clade, reveals striking differences in gene content and length of non-coding regions.


Genome contraction was a complex process, which involved gene loss and reduction of lengths of introns and intergenic regions, but not intron loss. The gene loss is more frequent for the genes that belong to multigenic families indicating that genetic redundancy is an important prerequisite for genome size reduction.

Genome reduction; Carnivorous plant; Intron; Intergenic region