Navigation Links
Genetic mutation depicted in van Gogh's sunflower paintings revealed by scientists
Date:3/31/2012

In addition to being among his most vibrant and celebrated works, Vincent van Gogh's series of sunflower paintings also depict a mutation whose genetic basis has, until now, been a mystery. In a study published in PLoS Genetics, a team of University of Georgia scientists reveal the mutation behind the distinctive, thick bands of yellow "double flowers" that the post-Impressionist artist painted more than 100 years ago.

The most common sunflower trait is a composite flower head that contains a single whorl of large, flattened, yellow ray florets on the outer perimeter and hundreds to over a thousand individual, tubular, disc florets that can produce seeds. The double-flowered mutants that van Gogh depicted in many of his paintings, on the other hand, have multiple bands of yellow florets and a much smaller proportion of internal disc florets.

To understand the genetic basis of this difference, senior author John Burke, professor of plant biology in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, and his colleagues began by using the same plant crossing techniques that Gregor Mendel, a 19th century contemporary of van Gogh, used to lay the foundation of modern genetics. The scientists crossed the common, or "wild type", variety of sunflower with the double-flowered variety, and their initial findings suggested that a single, dominant gene was responsible for creating the double-flowered mutation. Subsequent crosses of the offspring revealed that a second mutation, which is recessive to both the double-flowered mutation and the wild-type version of the gene, results in a third flower type that is intermediate in form, being elongated and yellow, but tubular and containing the reproductive structures of the interior florets.

The scientists identified the responsible gene and sequenced it to show that in the double-flowered mutation, the portion of the gene that functions as an on/off switch is disrupted, so that the instructions for making the outer rays are turned on in the portions of the plant that would normally produce the internal disc florets. In the second mutation, which results in the tubular florets, the insertion of a "jumping gene" disrupts the ability of the plant to produce normal ray florets. As a result, tubular florets are produced in place of the normal ray florets.

Finally, the scientists screened hundreds of sunflower varietieswild type, double-flowered and tubularand found that wild-type sunflower varieties never have a mutation in the HaCYC2c gene, while the double-flowered varieties always have the same mutation in the on/off switch. In addition, the tubular varieties always have a disrupted copy of the gene. "All of this evidence tells us that the mutation we've identified is the same one that van Gogh captured in the 1800s," Burke said.

"In addition to being of interest from a historical perspective, this finding gives us insight into the molecular basis of an economically important trait," he added. "You often see ornamental varieties similar to the ones van Gogh painted growing in people's gardens or used for cut flowers, and there is a major market for them."


'/>"/>
Contact: Sam Fahmy
sfahmy@uga.edu
706-542-6049
Public Library of Science
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Rare genetic disorder gives clues to autism, epilepsy, mental retardation
2. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News reports on growing role of molecular diagnostics
3. Study finds genetic variant plays role in cleft lip
4. Genetic finding implicates innate immune system in major cause of blindness
5. American College of Medical Genetics receives $13.5M NIH contract
6. Clue to genetic cause of fatal birth defect
7. Can genetic information be controlled by light?
8. The American Society of Human Genetics hosts 58th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia
9. Modern genetics vs. ancient frog-killing fungus
10. Genetic based human diseases are an ancient evolutionary legacy
11. Genetic evidence for avian influenza movement from Asia to North America via wild birds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/16/2016)... 2016 Sensory Inc ., a ... for consumer electronics, and VeriTran , a ... industry, today announced a global partnership that will ... authenticate users of mobile banking and mobile payments ... software which requires no specialized biometric scanners, yet ...
(Date:11/14/2016)... Inc. ("xG" or the "Company") (Nasdaq: XGTI, XGTIW), a ... challenging operating environments, announced its results for the third ... conference call to discuss these results on November 15, ... Key Recent Accomplishments The ... Vislink Communication Systems. The purchase is expected to close ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016  The American College of Medical ... Show Executive Magazine as one of the fastest-growing trade ... 25-27 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas ... highest percentage of growth in each of the following categories: ... companies and number of attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... DIEGO , Dec. 8, 2016  Renova™ ... for congestive heart failure and type 2 diabetes, ... for a novel adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector developed ... , M.D., Ph.D., at Stanford University. The company ... its paracrine gene therapy product pipeline. ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... 8, 2016 Oxford Gene Technology ... SureSeq™ NGS panel range with the launch of the SureSeq ... study of variants in familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). The panel delivers ... on a single small panel and allows customisation by ,mix ... all exons for LDLR , P C ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... December 08, 2016 , ... This CAST ... approvals for biotech crops. The authors focus on the economic effects in countries that ... approval of new biotech crops and the resultant risk of low level presence (LLP) ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... SEOUL, South Korea , Dec. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... completed a $21 billion KRW (US $18.9M) Series A ... Management, Kolon Investment, G.N. Tech Venture and SNU Bio ... by Eutilex to 30.5 billion KRW (US $27.7M) since ... will help Eutilex to bolster the development and commercialization ...
Breaking Biology Technology: