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UGA scientists reveal genetic mutation depicted in van Gogh's sunflower paintings
Date:3/31/2012

on 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.


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

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