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Cambridge University Science Magazine
Almost all organisms maintain an internal sense of time, allowing biological processes to be synchronised with both the time of day and the seasons. In plants, 'morning' genes and 'evening' genes interact to set up a periodic 24-hour cycle of gene expression. The gene DET1 has now been identified as one of the critical components that suppress expression of the evening genes at dawn.

This could have important implications for agriculture, as currently farmers are limited by the seasons. Increased understanding of the circadian rhythms of plants may lead to scientists being able to “engineer plants that can grow in different seasons and places than is currently possible,” said Xing Wang Deng, the senior author of the research paper describing the new finding [1]. Indeed, this research shows that plants that make less DET1 have a faster clock and take less time to flower, which could have consequences for increasing agricultural output.

The research was published this month in the journal Molecular Cell [2].

Written by Catherine Moir


  2. Lau, O.S., Huang, X., Charron, J.B., Lee, J.H., Li, G. and Deng, X.W. Interaction of Arabidopsis DET1 with CCA1 and LHY in Mediating Transcriptional Repression in the Plant Circadian Clock. Molecular Cell, 2011; 43 (5): 703-712 DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2011.07.013