How chrysanthemums create trick petals that look like female flies. South African chrysanthemums combine genes they normally use for root hair growth and iron transport to create petals that look like female flies – prompting males to land and pollinate the plant.
An orange daisy in South Africa has an unusual allure to attract pollinators
A small structure on its petals resembling a female fly Male flies perch on the petals hoping to mate but end up carrying pollen from the flower to other plants. According to scientists have identified three genomes in chrysanthemums that have been repurposed to evolve decoys. Also, the fly-like structure appears to have emerged in a relatively short evolutionary period of 2 million years.
After the annual winter rains, the Namaqualand desert in South Africa blooms beautifully for several months. The abundance of flowers creates fierce competition for South African chrysanthemums (Gorteria diffuse). Also, they attract pollinators such as wasps (Megapalpus capensis) with their false petals.
Beverley Glover from the University of Cambridge said: ‘The male fly came and landed very precisely on the spot as if to mate with it. In the process of “waving around looking confused,” she said. Also, the fly would shake the pollen it carried from tree to plant on its own.
To find out which gene is responsible for artificial flowers. Glover and his team compared genes expressed in fake hummingbird petals with genes in normal petals. South African chrysanthemums have developed slightly different false flies depending on the subpopulation of the species. Also but most consist of one to four dark black spots with an erect feather-like texture that mimics a female fly. Some flowers lack female false flies. The researchers also compared South African chrysanthemums to other chrysanthemum species with single dark spots and rings that lacked false fly detail.
They found three sets of genes involved in creating the lure, all of which performed other functions in the flower. “[These genes] were all co-selected or recruited to produce this amazing fly mimicry,” says Glover. “We know that this particular chrysanthemum has evolved to produce these spots over the last 1.5 to 2.5 million years.”
A set of genes that move iron around the plant were co-opted to transport the blue-black pigment to the petals. The genes that make root hairs, which help the plant absorb nutrients from the soil, also give fake flies a feather-like texture. The group of genes that tell the plant when to flower causes fake flies to appear on different petals.
Steve Johnson of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, who was not involved in the work, explains that the work “contributes to solving one of the key problems in imitation research”. Specifically, it helps to elucidate how plants can gradually evolve complex structures through stages of gene duplication 바카라사이트.