Editors' ChoicePlant biology

Controlling the Coming of Catkins

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Science's STKE  23 May 2006:
Vol. 2006, Issue 336, pp. tw175
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3362006tw175

The regulation of flowering in annual plants is controlled by a pair of genes, FT and CO. Are similar genes also involved in regulating flowering time in trees? The juvenile phase in trees can last for decades before the first flower is formed. During this time, the tree is nonresponsive to environmental factors that potentially influence flowering time. Böhlenius et al. show that the FT ortholog from Populus trees (poplars, aspen, and cottonwoods) is a critical determinant of flowering time in trees. The poplar FT is also responsible for a completely different developmental process in trees, the timing of the short-day-induced growth cessation and bud set that occurs in the fall.

H. Böhlenius, T. Huang, L. Charbonnel-Campaa, A. M. Brunner, S. Jansson, S. H. Strauss, O. Nilsson, CO/FT regulatory module controls timing of flowering and seasonal growth cessation in trees. Science 312, 1040-1043 (2006). [Abstract] [Full Text]

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