American Association for the Advancement of Science - How does a plant develop a taste for flesh? In the play Little Shop of Horrors, all it takes is a drop of human blood. But in real life, it takes much more. Now, a study of three closely related carnivorous plants suggests dextrous genetic shuffling helped them evolve the ability to catch and digest protein-rich meals.
But Luis Herrera-Estrella, a plant genomicist at Texas Tech University, is pleased to know about the new genes that are now linked to carnivory. He and others can study how genes were rewired to make meat eating possible. Indeed, Hedrich says, it seems most plants already have many of the necessary genes. "The path to carnivory seems to be open for all plants."