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Genetics Unzipped: Little Shop of Genetic Horrors – the evolution of carnivorous plants

Posted by , on 3 November 2022

Two pitcher plants

“One of the things that we’re really interested in is whether or not we can take these genes that are used in carnivory and pop them into crop plants”

Dr Tanya Renner

In the latest episode of the Genetics Unzipped podcast, we’re looking at the gruesome world of plants eating animals. There’s something unnatural about carnivorous plants. We’re so used to plants being at the bottom of the food chain, that to see them trapping, killing and eating animals seems to go against the laws of nature. But of course, carnivory in plants is very real and has evolved multiple times in response to a lack of nutrients. We speak with Dr Ulrike Bauer about the biomechanics of how pitcher plants make their surfaces so slippery, Dr Kadeem Gilbert tells us about what is able to survive inside a pitcher plant’s death trap, and Dr Tanya Renner talks about how she’s trying to put sundew genes into crops.

Genetics Unzipped is the podcast from The Genetics Society. Full transcript, links and references available online at

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Categories: Outreach, Podcast, Societies

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