How Romanesco cauliflower forms its spiraling fractals

The swirling green cones that make up the head of Romanesco cauliflower also form a fractal pattern — one that repeats itself on multiple scales. Now, the genes that underlie this stunning structure have been identified, and the fractal pattern has been replicated in a common lab plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, researchers report in the July 9 Science.

“Romanesco is one of the most conspicuous fractal shapes that you can find in nature,” says Christophe Godin, a computer scientist with the National Institute for Research in Digital Science and Technology who is based at ENS de Lyon in France. “The question is, why is that so?” The answer has long

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