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CO/FT Regulatory Module Controls Timing of Flowering and Seasonal Growth Cessation in Trees

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Science  19 May 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5776, pp. 1040-1043
DOI: 10.1126/science.1126038

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Abstract

Forest trees display a perennial growth behavior characterized by a multiple-year delay in flowering and, in temperate regions, an annual cycling between growth and dormancy. We show here that the CO/FT regulatory module, which controls flowering time in response to variations in daylength in annual plants, controls flowering in aspen trees. Unexpectedly, however, it also controls the short-day–induced growth cessation and bud set occurring in the fall. This regulatory mechanism can explain the ecogenetic variation in a highly adaptive trait: the critical daylength for growth cessation displayed by aspen trees sampled across a latitudinal gradient spanning northern Europe.

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