Crop Biotech Update

Nottingham Scientists Reveal Genetic ‘Wiring' of Seeds

May 20, 2011

Scientists at the University of Nottingham's Division of Crop and Plant Sciences, in collaboration with the University's Research Priority Groups, have reached a breakthrough in elucidating that the plant signals to germinate is also the signal to flower. The research team led by George Bassel, compiled publicly available gene expression interactions in Arabidopsis thaliana.

Dr. Bassel said: "To our surprise, the seed network demonstrated that genetic factors controlling seed germination were the same as those controlling the other irreversible decision in the life cycle of plants: the decision to start flowering. The induction of flowering, like germination, is highly responsive to cues from the environment."

In addition, results showed that genes that allow leaves and roots to respond to stress are also used to stop germination. The study could open doors in the identification of important factors to control stress response in seeds and plants that could lead to the development of crops resistant to drought or floods.

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