New discovery by Texas A&M AgriLife scientists gives insights about the
biological circadian clock, how it regulates high water-use efficiency in
some plants, and how other food plants might be improved for the same
efficiency to be able to grow in conditions uninhabitable for them at
The team identified 1,398 transcription factors, and of these, nearly half
showed time-of-day specific or diurnal gene expression patterns, which are
important in uncovering genetic controls on how plants use water.
Led by Dr. Qingyi Yu, AgriLife Research associate professor, the group
focused on pineapple, a water-efficient plant that uses crassulacean acid
metabolism or CAM photosynthesis. They found genes regulated by the
biological clock to express similarly in two tissue types of the pineapple
plant: those that contribute to photosynthesis and those that do not. The
finding represents a new paradigm for identifying core clock genes, Yu said.
The method revealed the possible components of the circadian clock or
oscillator that regulates CAM activity.