New research sheds light how carnivorous plants the Venus fly trap developed a taste meat. A study from the University of Würzburg in Germany suggests that subtle changes the genetics of plants led to some becoming carnivorous. These changes led to the development some of nature's most ingenious species. Carnivorous plants adapted novel and devious ways to entice and snare insects. The Venus fly trap uses clam-like leaves that snap shut when an insect crawls them. The pitcher plant is shaped a vase - insects go inside and then cannot crawl the slippery insides. The sundew plant has long sticky leaves, which roll after insects get stuck them.
Researchers in a variety fields collaborated the study. They included computational evolutionary biologist Jörg Schultz and plant biologist Rainer Hedrich. They sequenced and compared the genomes carnivorous plants to non-carnivorous plants. They discovered that meat-eating plants developed the same common ancestor about 60 million years ago. Dr Schultz said: "We were able to trace the origin carnivorous genes to a duplication event that occurred many millions years ago the genome of the last common ancestor the carnivorous species." Dr Rainer added: "The function these genes is related to the ability to sense and digest animals and to utilise their nutrients."