Rafflesia cantleyi, known as one of the world's largest flowers, is a specialised holoparasite due to dramatic morphological modifications. It possesses highly reduced vegetative structure and only appears as a flower for sexual reproduction. Moreover, it has an unusual life cycle in that its floral bud development takes up to nine months. In order to fully understand the highly modified floral organ structure and long life cycle of R. cantleyi, we used Illumina sequencing technology (HiSeq) for sequence generation followed by de novo assembly of sequence reads. We obtained the RNA-seq data from three different stages of floral bud, representing the early, mid and advanced developmental stages. These data are available via BioProject accession number PRJNA378435. More than 10.3 Gb raw sequence data were generated, corresponding to 102,203,042 raw reads. Following removal of low-quality reads and trimming of adapter sequences, a total of 91,638,836 reads were obtained. De novo assembly of these sequences using Trinity resulted in 89,690 unique transcripts with an N50 of 1653 bp. The obtained transcriptomic data will be useful for further study to understand the molecular interactions that result in R. cantleyi floral development.
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