Sunflowers in Van Gough's Paintings



According to the foreign media reports, recent studies have discovered that the sunflowers in Van Gogh's painting are not imaginary, but originate from gene mutation.The research results are published in the "PLoS genetics" in March 29th.

The typical sunflowers have brown seeds in the middle part, surrounded by a ring of yellow petals. But like "Teddy", it does not have double petals. Some variant seeds have a very large space and sparse petals. The researchers said this change was caused by gene mutation.

John Burke from University of Georgia in the United States and his colleagues hybridized the common sunflower seeds and variant seeds and found a gene controlled these changes. In order to further verify the results, they sequenced this gene and looked for in several commercial sunflowers. In the common sunflowers, the gene has not been found, but in fluffy sunflower is very common. "Besides the historical significance, this research allows us to know the molecular basis in economics. The daily varieties in people's garden are quite similar to the sunflower in the painting of Van Gogh, which is popular among the market", said Burke.

This research makes the boundaries between the seeds and the petals become unfixed. The gene mutation may make the seed become bigger and make the petals be lush. The former leads to the small petals and the latter results in the dense variety like "Teddy". "The identified variation is the same as what Van Gogh caught in the 19th century", said Burke.

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