Editors' ChoicePlant biology

Inheritance of Circadian Clocks in Plants

Science's STKE  11 Nov 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 208, pp. tw443
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.208.tw443

The circadian clock plays a role in the physiology of plants in their responses to light-dark cycles and to changes in season. Michael et al. examined the genetic inheritance of the circadian clock. Circadian clock parameters varied among a group of Arabidopsis plants collected from diverse geographic origins. Circadian clock period length correlated with source latitude, which suggests that the clock period has functional importance in adaptation to the environment. One set of plants displayed no overt circadian rhythm in leaf movement and may represent a naturally occurring clock loss-of-function mutant. Two common laboratory forms of Arabidopsis display quite similar circadian parameters, probably as a result of the additive effects of multiple loci. The correlation of period length and latitude is consistent with a role for the clock in adaptation to the local environment.

T. P. Michael, P. A. Salomé, H. J. Yu, T. R. Spencer, E. L. Sharp, M. A. McPeek, J. M. Alonso, J. R. Ecker, C. R. McClung, Enhanced fitness conferred by naturally occurring variation in the circadian clock. Science 302, 1049-1053 (2003). [Abstract] [Full Text]