Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Researchers Find Genetic Mechanisms Behind Fractal Formation in Romanesco Cauliflower


 Elij. “Romanesco Cauliflower.” Jioforme.com, 2021, www.jioforme.com/strange-fractal-romanesco-cauliflower-begins-life-as-a-failed-flower/585921/.

      The science behind the fractal formation of the Romanesco cauliflower has been a mystery to scientists for a long time. The Romanesco cauliflower is unique as the head of the plant is made up of fractals, layers of swirling cones. Recently, found what genetic components cause this fractal structure to form and have even replicated the plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Christophe Godin and his colleagues utilized computer simulations and lab-grown plants to search for what caused the fractal patterns to form. The researchers manipulated three genes and, by doing so, were able to replicate the fractal pattern in the Arabidopsis thaliana plant. The research team found that two of the genetic manipulations caused shoot growth and hindered the development of flowers. Rather than a flower growing, a shoot grew, and another grew on that shoot in a chain reaction. The third gene manipulated by the research team resulted in the expansion of growing space at the end of each shoot. This increase in area provided room for the “spirling conical fractals” to form. Godin and the research team intend to altar the three genes in the cauliflower for further study. By further researching how plant structures develop, we can better understand the underlying genetics and mechanisms beneath different plants' beautiful and unique structures.


Link to Article:https://www.sciencenews.org/article/romanesco-cauliflower-fractal-spiral-genetics-biology

Link to Supporting Study: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/373/6551/192

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