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Science 312 (5776): 1040-1043

Copyright © 2006 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

CO/FT Regulatory Module Controls Timing of Flowering and Seasonal Growth Cessation in Trees

Henrik Böhlenius,1 Tao Huang,1 Laurence Charbonnel-Campaa,1 Amy M. Brunner,2,4 Stefan Jansson,3 Steven H. Strauss,4 Ove Nilsson1*

Abstract: Forest trees display a perennial growth behavior characterized by a multiple-year delay in flowering and, in temperate regions, an annual cycling between growth and dormancy. We show here that the CO/FT regulatory module, which controls flowering time in response to variations in daylength in annual plants, controls flowering in aspen trees. Unexpectedly, however, it also controls the short-day–induced growth cessation and bud set occurring in the fall. This regulatory mechanism can explain the ecogenetic variation in a highly adaptive trait: the critical daylength for growth cessation displayed by aspen trees sampled across a latitudinal gradient spanning northern Europe.

1 Umeå Plant Science Centre, Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, S-90183 Umeå, Sweden.
2 Virginia Tech Department of Forestry, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061–0324, USA.
3 Umeå Plant Science Centre, Department of Plant Physiology, Umeå University, S-90187 Umeå, Sweden.
4 Department of Forest Science, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331–5752, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. Email: Ove.Nilsson{at}genfys.slu.se


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