Study Finds Some Petunias Colored By Genetic Defect

January 3, 2014 6:04 PM

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Study Finds Some Petunias Colored By Genetic Defect

While blue petals are prized by horticulturalists for their rarity in nature, plants have little reason to prefer the color. Red and yellow are much more attractive to pollinating birds and bugs, and white is advantageous for standing out at night for pollinators like bats and moths. Usually, if there’s a hint of blue in a plant, it’s combined with red to make purple.

A team of scientists led by researchers from VU University in the Netherlands thinks they’ve found the cellular secret behind a blue petunia. In a paper published in the journal Cell Reports on Jan. 2, the researchers point to a defect in a cellular pumping system that normally keeps the pH of speci...

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