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Researchers have uncovered new evidence about the agriculturally important process of vernalization in a development that could help farmers deal with financially damaging weather fluctuations.
Vernalization is the process by which plants require prolonged exposure to cold temperature before they transition from the vegetative state to flower. For decades it's been a key focus of research into plant development and crop productivity.
Vernalization - Temperatures - Field - Controls - Process
But how vernalization might work under variable temperatures in the field has been unclear, as have some of the underlying molecular controls of the process.
The research carried out by John Innes Centre scientists in collaboration with colleagues in Hungary and France shows that vernalization is influenced by warm conditions as well as cold, and a much wider temperature range than previously thought.
Dr - Laura - Dixon - Study - Exploration
Led by Dr. Laura Dixon, the study began as an exploration into how variance in ambient temperatures might influence flowering regulation in winter wheat. But it unexpectedly uncovered an "extreme vernalization response".
"We have shown that vernalization responds to warmer conditions than those classically associated with vernalizing. Before this study we thought vernalization only happened up to a maximum of about 12°C, but the true temperature is much higher. This information is immediately useful to breeders," says Dr. Dixon.
Researchers - Panel - Wheat - Cultivars - Landraces
The researchers used a panel of 98 wheat cultivars and landraces and exposed them to temperatures ranging from 13 to 25 °C in controlled environments.
Normally, once the vernalization process completes, plant growth is...
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