Colours of Flowers Predicting Evolution

Colours of Flowers Predicting EvolutionThe genes responsible for the changes in colour among flowers have been discovered by a group of scientists at OC Santa Barbara. This area of research was started in the 1850’s by Gregor Mendel.

The evolution of columbine flowers in North America was recorded and documented. Two varieties of this flower were researched – the red columbines which are pollinated by hummingbirds and white or yellow columbines which are pollinated by hawkmoths. It is believed that a shift from red, white or yellow has occurred five times in North America.

Senior author Scott A. Hodges said, “What is important in this research is that hawkmoths mostly visit — and pollinate — white or pale flowers. We have shown experimentally that hawkmoths prefer these paler colours.”

Red plants are usually pollinated by humminbirds, but through natural selection the colour of flowers change if pollinaters change. So if a plant population is pollinated by hawkmoths, they will slowly be changed to a lighter colour.

Scientists find these results important because this might show how evolution can be predicted…

[Via: Science Daily]

Colours of Flowers Predicting Evolution was last modified: July 13th, 2009 by admin
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