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Genetic snooze button governs timing of spring flowers

in the door," Amasino says. "It gives us a basis to test whether there are similarities."

Knowing the genes that control flowering and how they work provides a much more detailed working knowledge of plants, many that are useful to humans and some of great economic importance, Amasino explains.

"This is important agriculturally," he notes. "There are many crops - cabbage, beets - that we don't want to flower. Many of the cultivated varieties we use are never exposed to cold in a typical farmer's field growing season."

When that is the case, a cold snap can fool sugar beets, for example, into flowering, a process that can ruin the crop by redirecting nutrients from the valuable root to the production of seeds and flowers.

And although Amasino and his group have demystified some of the molecular underpinning of the familiar process of flowering, the biochemist emphasizes that much of the fine biochemical detail remains to be worked out.


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Contact: Richard Amasino
amasino@biochem.wisc.edu
608-265-2170
University of Wisconsin-Madison
9-Aug-2006


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