A team of researchers at Warwick University have isolated the gene responsible for causing flowering in the Arabidopsis genus of plants, a development which could allow them to understand and, possibly control, the flowering of all plants.
In the study, scientists created a mutant Arabidopsis with an abnormal flowering time to identify the precise gene which controlled when the plant flowered.
They then cloned a working version of the gene, called “Day Neutral Flowering” from a normal Arabidopsis and transplanted it into the mutant plant, which restored its normal flowering response to day length.
Further work is needed to identify the DNF gene in other plants, but it could, ultimately, lead to better control over flowering patterns.
Dr Stephen Jackson, lead author of the study, said: “Being able to understand and, ultimately, control seasonal flowering will enable more predictable flowering, better scheduling and reduced wastage of crops.”