Navigation Links
UGA scientists reveal genetic mutation depicted in van Gogh's sunflower paintings
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 bit of a mystery.

In a study published today (March 29) in the journal PLoS Genetics, however, 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.

"In addition to being of interest from a historical perspective, this finding gives us insight into the molecular basis of an economically important trait," said senior author John Burke, professor of plant biology in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. "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."

The most common sunflower phenotype 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, Burke 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.


'/>"/>
Contact: John Burke
jmburke@uga.edu
706-583-5511
University of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Scientists win $2 million to study new pathway in development and maintenance of lymphoma
2. WileyChina.com - Now Featuring Bespoke Pages for China’s Life Scientists
3. Salk scientists open new window into how cancers override cellular growth controls
4. Scientists discover new method of proton transfer
5. Brandeis scientists win prestigious prize for circadian rhythms research
6. American Society of Plant Biologists honors early career women scientists
7. Scientists produce eye structures from human blood-derived stem cells
8. Queens scientists seek vaccine for Pseudomonas infection
9. Stanford scientists develop gene therapy approach to grow blood vessels in ischemic limbs
10. A*STAR scientists make groundbreaking discovery on stem cell regulation
11. Scripps Florida scientists awarded $3 million to develop new, more effective pain treatments
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
UGA scientists reveal genetic mutation depicted in van Gogh's sunflower paintings
(Date:6/14/2017)... PARIS , June 15, 2017  IBM (NYSE: IBM ... the international tech event dedicated to developing collaboration between startups ... on June 15-17. During the event, nine startups will ... deliver value in various industries. ... in the international market, with a 30 percent increase in ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... -- Janice Kephart , former 9/11 Commission ... LLP (IdSP) , today issues the following statement: ... 6, 2017 Executive Order: Protecting the Nation ... instilled with greater confidence, enabling the reactivation of ... are suspended by until at least July 2017). ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... PUNE, India , April 13, 2017 According ... Identity Proofing, Identity Authentication, Identity Analytics, Identity Administration, and Authorization), Service, Authentication ... by MarketsandMarkets™, the IAM Market is expected to grow from USD 14.30 ... Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17.3%. ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/20/2017)... ... September 20, 2017 , ... The award-winning producers behind the ... feature new innovations aimed at helping farmers solve the problem of nitrogen loss. ... Tuesdays at 8:30aET on RFD-TV. Check your local listings for more info. ...
(Date:9/20/2017)... ... September 20, 2017 , ... ... leading global provider of engineering, architecture, project controls, construction management, commissioning and ... today announced the unveiling of the iCON™ brand which represents the collective ...
(Date:9/20/2017)... Worth, Texas (PRWEB) , ... September 20, 2017 , ... ... stem cell therapy succeeded after standard medicine failed. Many of these people had lost ... Progress, Not Regression Free Download (pdf) , “Neil takes ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... ... September 19, 2017 , ... The latest generation ... step of sample prep for metals digestion—the addition of acids and reagents. The ... price. The system is ideal for any laboratory performing their own unique metals ...
Breaking Biology Technology: