Biotech Updates

Importance of Predicting Flowering Time and Crop Yield in Future Climates

October 9, 2009

The timing of flowering is an important factor if plants are to produce seeds under various abiotic and biotic stresses. Thus predicting flowering time and maturity of crops in a changing climate especially during warmer temperatures has been identified by many researchers as a major challenge. But the effect of this high and so called supraoptimal temperatures and their interaction with photoperiod has not been examined thoroughly, said researchers at the University of Reading, UK. Specifically, P. Craufurd and T.R. Wheeler have identified the following knowledge gaps in this research area:
  • better representation of photoperiod sensitivity in future studies
  • improved simulations of diversity of responses to temperature and photoperiod of crop genotypes
  • data collection of past changes in phenology in cropping systems
  • more observations and research on the effect of temperature and interactions with photoperiod on flowering pathway genes
  • integration of molecular and whole-plant responses

The impacts of climate change on crop production will be significant. Studies to date suggest that warming temperatures are expected to shorten the development stages of crops that may result to reduced yield and also change their suitability for cultivation in certain geographical areas.

Subscribers can read the detailed discussion in the review paper published by the Journal of Experimental Biology at