New research suggests how carnivorous plants developed a taste for meat. A study from a university in Germany shows that small changes in the genetics of plants led to some of them becoming carnivorous. This led to the development of some of nature's most ingenious species. Carnivorous plants developed new and devious ways to snare insects. The Venus fly trap's clam-like leaves snap shut when an insect crawls between them. The pitcher plant has slippery insides that insects cannot crawl up. The sundew plant has long, sticky leaves that roll up when insects walk or fly on them.
Researchers who collaborated in the study included a computational evolutionary biologist and a plant biologist. They compared the genomes of carnivorous plants to non-carnivorous ones. They found that meat-eating plants developed from the same ancestor 60 million years ago. A researcher said: "We were able to trace the origin of carnivorous genes back to a duplication event that occurred many millions of years ago." Another researcher said: "The function of these genes is related to the ability to sense and digest animals and to utilise their nutrients."