Scientists at the John Innes Centre (JIC)  in Norwich, UK, report today a breakthrough in understanding how crop plants use daylength to ensure they flower at the right time of year. In an article published in the international journal Science, they describe a gene that controls how barley reacts to the length of the day and thus controls when it flowers.
Most plants flower at a particular time of the year and researchers have known for a long time that plants use cues from their environment to control when they flower. Many crops, including barley, react to the length of the day (daylength) and use this to determine their flowering time.
“Different varieties of barley (and other crops) respond to daylength in different ways and this has been used to breed varieties adapted to grow in different farming environments” said Dr David Laurie (Project Leader at JIC). “Our result is exciting because for the first time we have identified the gene (called Ppd-H1)  that controls this very important response and now understand how plants monitor daylength. This should help breeders who are breeding new varieties for new environments and changing agricultural conditions – caused by global climate change.”
Dr David Laurie | alfa
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