The Pilostyles/ Apodanthes genome sequencing project
The family Apodanthaceae is formed by Pilostyles and Apodanthes. Pilostyles is a small genus of 12 species, distributed worldwide, all of them living as holo-endoparasites on stems of various legume lineages. Apodanthes is monotipic and found only in the Americas parasitizing members of Casearia. This fascinating group of plants likely represents the most reduced flowering parasitic plants from genomic to structural grounds, as they hold one of the most reduced plastomes known across green plants, and have undergone a complete reduction of vegetative meristems and organs. Pilostyles boyacensis, a recently described species in the Colombian Andes, is one of our emerging, non-model species to study various aspects of plant-plant parasitism in the tropics. Recently we have found a population of Apodanthes caseariae. We hope to assemble the two genomes in order to address their unique adaptations as holoparasites.