Parasitic plants are a noticeable exception to the evolutionary stability of the plastid genome, but only some parasite lineages have been sequenced so far. Roquet et al. provide the complete plastome of Cytinus hypocistis, the first parasite sequenced for Malvales.
This extremely divergent genome is highly reduced and some regions of this genome are likely to have evolved under relaxed negative selection, suggesting that further plastome reduction is ongoing and linked to the loss of photosynthetic activity. Increased selection intensity and strong positive selection are detected for rpl22 in Cytinus, which might indicate an evolutionary role in the host-parasite coevolution.