Long sought-after flowering signal found

other members of the same species, as is the case for cherry trees, need to make sure that they produce flowers at the same time as their neighbours. Requiring two independent components to come together for activation of flowering is a neat trick. One determines the right time of year and the other specifies the right place for the formation of flowers."

The work was carried out in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, since this represents the most versatile experimental system for plant biology. The lessons learnt, however, have far-reaching consequences for plant biology, as the FT and FD genes are present throughout the plant kingdom, including important crops such as rice and wheat. When we hear "flowering", we normally think of colorful bouquets or tree blossoms. The most important role of flowers is, however, that they give rise to fruits and seeds, including all the cereal grains, and thus are the basis of much of our daily lives. Because plants use environmental information to determine when to flower, they are geographically limited in the area where they can be grown. Outside their normal range, they will often not flower at all, or will flower too early or too late in the year. Being able to control the flowering process better should help to breed new varieties that can flourish in places where they would normally not flower at the appropriate time.


Contact: Detlef Weigel

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