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Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Unlock Genetic Code of the Brightest and Most Vibrant Colors in Nature

February 28, 2018

Researchers have unlocked the genetic code of some of the brightest and most vibrant colors in nature. The study, published in the journal PNAS shows how genetics can change the color and appearance of certain types of bacteria.

Flavobacterium is a type of bacteria that packs together in colonies, producing striking metallic colours, which come not from pigments, but from their internal structure, which reflects light at certain wavelengths. The researchers compared the genetic information to optical properties and anatomy of wild-type and mutated bacterial colonies to understand how genes regulate the color of the colony.

By genetically mutating the bacteria, the researchers changed their dimensions or their ability to move, which altered the geometry of the colonies. This process changed the color from the original metallic green color of the colony in the entire visible range from blue to red. They were also able to create a duller coloration or make the color disappear entirely.

For more details, read the University of Cambridge Research News.