What Do These Have In Common?


Easy Wave Red petunia (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

What do red petunias and lemons have in common?

Lemons (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

They share a cell mechanism that regulates acid.

Ronald Koes at Univ. of Amsterdam discovered that red petunias have a vacuole proton pump that concentrates acid in their flower cells. Without the acid, those petunias would be blue.

He then examined DNA in a variety of citrus fruits, from sweet to very sour, and found that the sour ones have the same cell mechanism.

This discovery gives fruit and flower breeders a DNA marker for achieving desired colors and flavors.

Are red petunia flowers sour? … I’m not going to taste them to find out.

Read more about this discovery in Science Magazine.

(photos from Wikimedia Commons)