Navigation Links
Important gene controlling tree growth and development found

Scientists at the Umeå Plant Science Centre (UPSC) and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) report today about a breakthrough in our understanding of how the growth and development of forest trees is controlled. In an article published in the international journal Science, they show that the FT gene that was previously shown to control the flowering time of annual plants, also controls tree flowering.

With the help of this gene poplar trees can be stimulated to flower after a few weeks instead of after the normal 10-15 years. The scientists also show that the same gene not only controls the flowering time of trees, but also the timing of when the trees stop growing and set bud in the fall. That the same gene was involved in all these processes was highly unexpected.

The breakthrough for our understanding of the regulation of tree growth and development might revolutionize forest tree breeding and can lead to the development of new tree seedlings with a dramatically improved growth and also "tailor made" quality parameters suited for improved pulp and paper production, better construction materials and enhanced bioenergy production.

Trees are extremely important for life on earth. They are often a dominating part of the ecosystems and 30 per cent of the earths landmass is covered with forests. Trees produce many important products for mankind such as renewable fuel, cellulose for the pulp and paper industry and construction materials.

Compared to most other plants, trees display some key features. They are the latest flowering plants known ­ many trees do not form their first flower until they are 10-20 years old, sometimes even older! Trees also have the ability to cycle between growth and dormancy. This is a way to adopt to harsh winter conditions when the supply of water is low and the tree might be damaged from both drought and cold. The trees have adopted to these conditions by stopping growth and forming buds a t the end of summer or early fall. Decidious trees also shed their leaves. The tree is now dormant and is as such much more resistant to drought and frost than if it had been actively growing.

It has been known for a long time that the trees sense that fall is coming by measuring the length of the day. When the days get shorter the trees "know" that it is time to stop growing and set buds, even if it is a very warm fall. The trees are known to display a "critical daylength". If the days get shorter than this critical daylength the tree responds with growth cessation and bud set. The further north the trees grow the more important it is to stop growing and form buds sufficiently early in late summer. This means that trees originating from different latitudes (different origins in the north to south direction, so called "provenances", display different critical daylengths. For instance, an aspen tree from the middle of Germany stops growing and sets buds when the days get shorter than 16 hours. Compare this with a tree from northern Sweden which stops growing and prepares for winter already when the days get shorter than 21 hours long. Trees from northern Norway can even display critical daylengths of 23 hours! This trait is genetically inherited and is kept if the tree is moved to a new climate.

How the trees control their flowering, and why trees set bud at a certain time in the fall have been important questions for the scientists to answer. This is for two reasons. These are important traits that "makes a tree into a tree". There is a considerable applied interest in these traits. If one can induce early tree flowering it should be possible to dramatically enhance the speed of forest tree breeding. Plant breeding has been extremely successful for the development of superior plant material for agriculture. It has, however, had a small impact on forestry. To a large extent this has been caused by the fact that a forest tree breeder has to wait for 1 0-20 years between each cross in his breeding program.

The poplar tree FT gene, controlling both the flowering time of trees and the time for growth cessation and bud set in the fall, has been identified by a research group led by professor Ove Nilsson at the Umeå Plant Science Centre (UPSC) and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. The gene is very similar to the Arabidopsis FT gene, the gene that is producing the messenger molecule that controls the flowering of annual plants and that is considered to be the so called ³Florigen². Results concerning the Arabidopsis gene were published last year by the Nilsson group, also in Science. This finding was ranked by Science to belong to the third most important scientific discovery in 2005.

The scientists now show that the poplar FT gene is turned on before the tree starts flowering for the first time after 10-15 years. If the gene is activated prematurely in a transgenic tree, the tree can be stimulated to flower already in just a few weeks. After a few months completely normal flowers are formed.

It is also shown that the poplar FT gene is turned off in late summer just before the trees stop growing and set bud. By changing the activity of the FT gene the scientists could either prolong or shorten the growing season of the tree. They could also determine the mechanisms involved in growth cessation and bud set in the fall. This knowledge is vital if we want to adopt plants and trees to new climates.


'"/>

Source:Swedish Research Council


Related biology news :

1. Genes In The Interferon System Important In Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
2. New SARS Protein Linked To Important Cell Doorway
3. Important discovery about second most fatal cancer
4. Scientists find that protein controls aging by controlling insulin
5. Gene controlling circadian rhythms linked to drug addiction
6. Enzyme affects hypertension by controlling salt levels in body
7. Liquid crystals show promise in controlling embryonic stem cells
8. Key gene controlling eye lens development identified
9. Electronic chip, interacting with the brain, modifies pathways for controlling movement
10. Edge density key to controlling gypsy moth spread
11. Key gene controlling kidney development found
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/19/2016)... -- The new GEZE SecuLogic access control ... system solution for all door components. It can be ... interface with integration authorization management system, and thus fulfills ... dimensions of the access control and the optimum integration ... considerable freedom of design with regard to the doors. ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... 15, 2016 Research and ... Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report to their offering.  , ... , ,The global gait biometrics market is expected ... the period 2016-2020. Gait analysis generates ... be used to compute factors that are not ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... CHICAGO , April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians ... are setting a new clinical standard in telehealth ... By leveraging the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can ... weight, pulse and body mass index, and, when they ... quick and convenient visit to a local retail location ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2016)... WARSAW, Ind. , May 23, 2016 Zimmer ... in musculoskeletal healthcare, today announced that its Board of Directors ... stockholders for the second quarter of 2016. ... on or about July 29, 2016 to stockholders of record ... Future declarations of dividends are subject to approval of the ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... and LONDON , May 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... See Frontage Boost Efficiency by 40% - Frontage Implement ... - Frontage Enforce Quality, Compliance and Traceability Within the Bioanalytical lab ... labs in the United States and ... to be deployed across its laboratory facilities. In addition to serving ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... May 23, 2016 , ... ... molecular nanotechnology, announced the winners for the 2015 Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes. ... given in two categories, one for experiment and the other for theory in ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... ... May 20, 2016 , ... The leading Regenerative Veterinary Medicine ... experienced veterinary clients have treated over 100 of their own patients with the VetStem ... the highest level of care for their patients. , The veterinarians are Dr ...
Breaking Biology Technology: