Development and Genetics of Carnivorous Traps (COEN_J17DTP)

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia
Department Name: Graduate Office


Pitcher-shaped leaves have evolved four times independently in flowering plants: in the Caryophyllales, Ericales, Oxalidales and Lentibulariaceae. In all cases they are associated with a carnivorous habit and provide a mechanism for trapping insects or other small animals. The leaves are cup-shaped and have protrusions or lids that help to trap the prey. However, the detailed mechanism by which these leaves develop has been little studied. This project will concentrate on development of leaves in Utricularia gibba Bladderwort, Lentibulariaceae) which has several advantages for experimental study, such as a small genome size, transformabilty and small transparent leaf traps. The aim of the project is to apply imaging, molecular genetic and computational approaches to Utricularia to arrive at a deeper understanding of how pitcher-shaped leaves develop and may have evolved from simpler leaf shape.

The aim of the project will be to follow up Utricularia gibba mutants that affect trap development and carry out:(1) Molecular genetic analysis of affected genes; (2) Developmental analysis through 3D and confocal imaging; (3) Live imaging to determine growth dynamics; (4) Clonal analysis to extract growth patterns and (5) Computational modelling to formulate hypotheses for growth and development.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011216/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1913171 Studentship BB/M011216/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021 Robert Bellow