Genetic Clues to Van Gogh’s Teddy Bear Sunflower Florets Uncovered

sunflower-arrangement-types
Three sunflower arrangements (top) and their floret types (bottom). Wild sunflowers have typical outer ray and disc florets (left), double-flowered sunflowers have mostly ray-like mutant florets (middle), and tubular sunflowers grow only disc-like florets (right).

The famous Dutch impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh was obsessed with sunflowers, until he died in 1890. His iconic paintings of sunflowers fetch millions of dollars at auction. Scientists have been trying to solve the genetic origin of the mutant teddy bear sunflowers that are depicted in van Gogh’s canvases.

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