The ability to produce more food in the same acreage is crucial to feeding an increasing world population at the same time as curbing deforestation and dedicating more land to biofuels.
Scientists at the John Innes Centre have identified how the signal that controls flowering is delivered to the shoot apex. Flowering is the process that delivers food from crops.
“Flowering produces fruit, as well as seeds that are the raw ingredient for all cereal based foods”, said Dr Philip Wigge, lead author on the paper, to be published in Current Biology next Friday. “Controlling flowering means that we have the fundamental understanding needed to increase the productivity of rice, maize, wheat or any other crop by increasing the number of flowering cycles in a year.
“We can also switch off the signal to prevent flowering and therefore increase biomass for fuel production”.
In the horticultural industry, the findings could be used to keep gardens in bloom for longer.
It has been known for more than 70 years that leaves exposed to light can trigger flowering in a darkened shoot. Research published by John Innes Centre scientists and a Swedish team in 2005 revealed the gene FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) as essential to the process. But how the signal, dubbed “florigen”, travels from leaf to apex has remained a mystery.
One lab suggested messenger RNA was responsible, but that research was retracted last month. Other recent papers published in the journal Science from the Max Planck Institute identified the signal as FT protein, the protein encoded by the FT gene, and Japan’s Nara Institute of Science and Technology have shown the same system exists in rice.
This latest research confirms that FT protein is responsible, but also shows that it is able to move between cells from the leaf to the apex. Experiments with an immobile FT protein showed that the movement of the protein is crucial for flower development.
“Plants may be rooted to the spot”, said Dr Wigge. “But for the first time we have shown that long range communication within plants is essential for their development and reproduction.
“These findings provide the tools to prolong or change flowering time. The full potential of that discovery can now be realised by the agricultural and horticultural industries.”
Zoe Dunford | alfa
Building a brain, cell by cell: Researchers make a mini neuron network (of two)
23.05.2018 | Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo
Research reveals how order first appears in liquid crystals
23.05.2018 | Brown University
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
23.05.2018 | Life Sciences
23.05.2018 | Life Sciences
23.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy