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Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Discover New Way in which Plants Control Flower Production

November 14, 2012

A research team in Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) in New York led by Zach Lippman has discovered a previously unknown mechanism that controls flowering in plants. Though it was believed that flowering is controlled by light and temperature, Lippman's team discovered that the timing of plant flowering also determines whether an inflorescence (reproductive shoot structures formed during flowering) was highly branched or not. Using the activity of tomato genes, the research team discovered a "molecular clock" coordinating whether meristems (where leaves or flowers are formed) give rise to branched or unbranched inflorescences.

Lippman's team found the TERMINATING FLOWER (TMF) gene, a timing mechanism that acts as an internal check on flowering. "We found a gene that when mutated converts the typical tomato multi-flowered inflorescence into one with a single flower," Lippman said. The results of the study is published in the journal Nature Genetics.

The news release is available at CSHL website: http://www.cshl.edu/Article-Lippman/cshl-led-team-discovers-new-way-in-which-plants-control-flower-production.