Mikhail Schelkunov and Maria Logacheva from Skoltech together with Maxim Nuraliev from Lomonosov Moscow State University have published a paper “Genomic comparison of non-photosynthetic plants from the family Balanophoraceae with their photosynthetic relatives”. The article has been previously released as a preprint.
The plant family Balanophoraceae consists entirely of species that have lost the ability to photosynthesize. Representatives of the family are parasitic plants that obtain all the nutrients from host plants. The scientists hypothesised that the nuclear genomes of Balanophoraceae may also provide valuable information in regard to understanding the evolution of non-photosynthetic plants. To gain insight into these genomes, in the present study they analysed the transcriptomes of two Balanophoraceae species (Rhopalocnemis phalloides and Balanophora fungosa) and compared them to the transcriptomes of their close photosynthetic relatives (Daenikera sp., Dendropemon caribaeus, and Malania oleifera). The analysis performed by the authors of the work revealed that the AT content of the nuclear genes of Balanophoraceae did not markedly differ from that of the photosynthetic relatives. Full text of the article is available here.