Transcriptome analysis of sarracenia, an insectivorous plant

DNA Res. 2011 Aug;18(4):253-61. doi: 10.1093/dnares/dsr014. Epub 2011 Jun 15.


Sarracenia species (pitcher plants) are carnivorous plants which obtain a portion of their nutrients from insects captured in the pitchers. To investigate these plants, we sequenced the transcriptome of two species, Sarracenia psittacina and Sarracenia purpurea, using Roche 454 pyrosequencing technology. We obtained 46 275 and 36 681 contigs by de novo assembly methods for S. psittacina and S. purpurea, respectively, and further identified 16 163 orthologous contigs between them. Estimation of synonymous substitution rates between orthologous and paralogous contigs indicates the events of genome duplication and speciation within the Sarracenia genus both occurred ∼2 million years ago. The ratios of synonymous and non-synonymous substitution rates indicated that 491 contigs have been under positive selection (K(a)/K(s) > 1). Significant proportions of these contigs were involved in functions related to binding activity. We also found that the greatest sequence similarity for both of these species was to Vitis vinifera, which is most consistent with a non-current classification of the order Ericales as an asterid. This study has provided new insights into pitcher plants and will contribute greatly to future research on this genus and its distinctive ecological adaptations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Computational Biology
  • Ecosystem
  • Gene Duplication
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Genome, Plant
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Sarraceniaceae / genetics*