Editors' ChoicePlant biology

The Whys of Winter Wheat

Science's STKE  16 Mar 2004:
Vol. 2004, Issue 224, pp. tw102-TW102
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2242004TW102

Winter wheat can be planted in the fall and, after a period of winter exposure, or vernalization, will begin rapid growth in spring. Spring wheat does not require the exposure to cold to promote flowering. Yan et al. (see the news story by Marx) have cloned from wheat the gene responsible for controlling vernalization. The predicted protein, VRN2, has homologs in other cereals and has features of a zinc finger-containing transcription factor. VRN2 plays a central role in the repression of flowering in temperate cereals, and its down-regulation by vernalization is critical for the initiation of the reproductive phase.

L. Yan, A. Loukoianov, A. Blechl, G. Tranquilli, W. Ramakrishna, P. SanMiguel, J. L. Bennetzen, V. Echenique, J. Dubcovsky, The wheat VRN2 gene is a flowering repressor down-regulated by vernalization. Science 303, 1640-1644 (2004). [Abstract] [Full Text]

J. Marx, Remembrance of winter past. Science 303, 1607 (2004). [Summary] [Full Text]