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Cell evolution demonstrated at flower petal level

More than 60 years of scientific thought has been contradicted in a new study examining Columbine flowers.

The flowers – known as Aquilegia – evolved several lengths of petal spurs that match the tongue lengths of their pollinators, including bees, hummingbirds, and hawkmoths. Previous decades of scientific thinking assumed the elongated petals form via continued cell divisions, but researchers discovered that longer spurs result from the lengthening of cells in one direction and not from an increased number of cells.

The evolution of petal spurs in columbines is considered a textbook example of adaptive radiation.

Read more at University of California

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