Early blooming may hurt flowers

The unseasonably warm weather that we’ve seen in March, and climate change in general, could have an effect on how flowers blossom.

A study published in Nature looks at the molecular level of flowers that bloom in spring’s warm temperatures.

They found that PIF4, a control gene, activates flowering when the temperature is warm. The heat enables PIF4 to initiate flowering by binding to the Florigen gene, which is the molecule that begins the flowering process.

According to a press release, the way that Florigen is activated by temperature had not been known until now.

“What is striking is that temperature alone is able to exert such specific and precise control on the activity of PIF4,” said Dr. Phil Wigge, the lead scientist in the study.

The concern raised is that when temperatures increase early and to higher levels, the crops will not be able to cope.

The researchers said they hope this understanding of the molecular level will lead to the development of temperature-resilient crops.

The study was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, which receives funding from the United Kingdom government. Seven out of the last ten years have seen record-breaking temperatures in the UK.

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