Color, a longstanding preoccupation for naturalists, became an equally popular topic of investigation for early genetics researchers due to their obvious visual elements.
(A) due to their obvious visual elements
(B) due to its having obvious visual elements
(C) because of its obvious visual elements
(D) because of its having obvious visual elements
(E) since their visual elements were apparent
Scroll down for the answer.
Pronoun Agreement, Idiom: Due to vs. Because
What has obvious visual elements? Color (singular), not early genetics researchers (plural). So the correct pronoun is its, not their. That eliminates (A) and (E). (B) and (D) can both be crossed out because they contain a wordy and awkward gerund phrase (its having); (B) can also be eliminated because due to means “caused by,” and it does not make grammatical sense to say Color…became an equally popular topic of investigation for early genetics researchers caused by its obvious visual elements. That leaves (C) which correctly provides the singular pronoun its and replaces the gerund with a shorter, cleaner noun phrase (obvious visual elements).
Shortcut: Answers with due to are almost always wrong. The GMAT is primarily interested in testing the misuse of this very frequently misused phrase.