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Plants Help Offspring by Passing on Seasonal Clues
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: June 17, 2018 01:29PM

Plants integrate seasonal signals such as temperature and day length and use
the information to optimize the timing for key lifecycle stages. These
transitions include flowering, seed dispersal, and seed dormancy -- a timely
tactic used by "mother" plants to ensure seed germination happens in optimal
conditions when seedling survival rate is high.

Seasonal sensing requires the activity of two well characterized gene,
Flowering Locus C (FLC) and Flowering Locus (FT). FLC is a temperature
sensor that acts as a brake to flowering and FT is a daylength sensor. New
research led by Professor Steven Penfield of the John Innes Centre (JIC),
has identified the precise mechanism by which temperature information is
passed from mother to seeds. The research shows that the two genes gather
temperature information from the environment and share this with progeny
during seed set.

The team discovered that the mother generates diversity, and uses variation
in temperature because as temperatures vary, plants produce seeds that are
slightly different in size and number. The research finds that the mother
plant exploits environmental temperature variation to create diversity in
seed type and behavior - a kind of reproductive bet-hedging in which the
plant uses temperature information to create a diverse and widely spread


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