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Have you ever found a four-leaf clover?

Have you ever found a four-leaf clover? You can thank genetics for that! The clover's scientific name, Trifolium repens, means three-leafed, but almost one out of every 10,000 clovers is four-leafed! 
 
In 2010, scientists from the University of Georgia examined the DNA of the white clover, the kind most commonly associated with St. Patrick's Day, and discovered which genes influence the shape and color of the plant's leaves. One of the newly discovered genes can produce a four-leafed clover, but it's usually suppressed by another gene that controls the plant's three-leafed trait. So, that four-leaf clover that you spotted in the garden? It probably got that way thanks to a genetic mutation. That makes the four-leaf clover more than just a lucky charm, it is something of a genetic rarity!
 
Blog Type: 
Science With the Fleet