Geneticists study symmetry in flowers

Oct 02, 2006

Spanish geneticists say they have discovered how bilaterally symmetric flowers evolve from radially symmetric ones.

Geneticists Francisco Perfectti and Juan Pedro Camacho, along with ecologist José Gómez -- all from the University of Granada -- explored how different flower shapes affect plant fitness in natural populations of Erysimum mediohispanicum, a Mediterranean herb.

The researchers found plants bearing bilaterally symmetrical flowers were more visited by pollinators and had higher fitness, measured by both the number of seeds produced per plant and the number of seeds surviving to the juvenile stage, than among plants with radially symmetric flowers.

"This study reveals that natural selection can play a key role in the evolution of flower bilateral symmetry," said Camacho. "Our data also suggest that it is possible to understand the evolution of complex forms by means of microevolutionary analyses, as complementary tools to those coming from developmental genetics."

The findings appear in the October issue of The American Naturalist.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Sex? It all started 385 million years ago (w/ Video)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google profit dips to $2.8 bn

2 hours ago

Google said Thursday its profit in the past quarter dipped slightly from a year earlier, even as revenues for the technology giant showed a sharp increase.

Shrinking resource margins in Sahel region of Africa

3 hours ago

The need for food, animal feed and fuel in the Sahel belt is growing year on year, but supply is not increasing at the same rate. New figures from 22 countries indicate falling availability of resources per ...

Recommended for you

UN biodiversity meet commits to double funding

Oct 17, 2014

A UN conference on preserving the earth's dwindling resources wrapped up Friday with governments making a firm commitment to double biodiversity aid to developing countries by 2015.

Climate change alters cast of winter birds

Oct 17, 2014

Over the past two decades, the resident communities of birds that attend eastern North America's backyard bird feeders in winter have quietly been remade, most likely as a result of a warming climate.

User comments : 0