Pinpointing petunias' prettiness

Why the pretty petunia is so different from its veggie and tobacco cousins has been revealed in a new study co-authored by New Zealanders, who have sequenced its complete genome.

The researchers say that changes in a specific gene region linked to a shift from bee to moth pollination might explain why petunia flowers are so diverse in colour and pattern.

The findings also indicate that petunia branched off from a common ancestor plant group about 30 million years ago, whereas potatoes, tomatoes, capsicum and tobacco didn't until much later.

Access the study here.

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