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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Broken Pump Turns Petunias Blue
2 January 2014 12:15 pm
The flowers that line most nursery shelves flaunt petals in what seems like all shades of the rainbow: yellows and whites, pinks and purples, reds and greens. But one color is—like a blue moon—more unusual in the flower world. Now, scientists have discovered what causes some petunias to grow blue petals, rather than the typical red or purple that breed is known for. Blue petunias, they found, have genetic mutations that make two pumps inside the plants’ cells malfunction. The pumps normally ensure that large compartments inside flower petal cells remain about as acidic as a cup of coffee. Without the pumps, these compartments become less acidic and the altered chemical composition of the petals changes the way light reflects off the flowers, giving them their blue hue. The discovery, published online today in Cell Reports, could lead to new ways to engineer other plant breeds, like roses or orchids, to have the elusive blue flowers.
*Correction, 8 January, 12:30 p.m.: The original photo posted was of a morning glory, not a petunia. The photo has now been replaced. Science regrets the error.