Most plants are photoautotrophs that derive all energy and nutrition directly from abiotic inputs (light, water, air, and simple inorganic compounds). However, some lineages of plants have abandoned photoautotrophy and become parasites. Others have adapted to supplement essential nutrients by eating animals (primarily insects).
Parasitic plants also cause billions in annual losses to agriculture world-wide, while ornamental carnivorous plants bring economic value. Despite their distinct morphologies and independent origins, parasitic and carnivorous plants share many similarities at the molecular and genomic levels that are only beginning to be understood.