Scientists reveal mechanisms behind complex color patterns in petals

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Photo taken on July 20, 2022 shows a blooming lotus flower at Yuanmingyuan Park in Beijing, capital of China. (Xinhua/Li Xin)

Chinese scientists have revealed the mechanisms underlying the formation of complex color patterns on Nigella orientalis (Ranunculaceae) petals.

Researchers from the Institute of Botany under the Chinese Academy of Sciences analyzed the cellular bases, chromogenic substances, reflectance spectra, developmental processes, and underlying mechanisms of complex color pattern formation on N. orientalis petals by conducting detailed morphological, anatomical, biochemical, optical, transcriptomic and functional studies.

They discovered that the complexity of the N. orientalis petals in the color pattern is reflected at multiple levels, with the amount and arrangement of different pigmented cells being the key, according to a research paper published in the journal New Phytologist.

By tracking the formation process of color patterns, researchers also found that biosynthesis of the chromogenic substances of different colors is sequential so that one color or pattern is superimposed on another.

Expression and functional studies further revealed that a pair of R2R3-MYB genes function cooperatively to specify the formation of the eyebrow-like horizontal stripe and the Mohawk haircut-like splatters, according to the research paper.

Xinhua News Agency

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