Molecular Analysis of FRIGIDA, a Major Determinant of Natural Variation in Arabidopsis Flowering Time

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Science  13 Oct 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5490, pp. 344-347
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5490.344

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Vernalization, the acceleration of flowering by a long period of cold temperature, ensures that many plants overwinter vegetatively and flower in spring. In Arabidopsis, allelic variation at the FRIGIDA (FRI) locus is a major determinant of natural variation in flowering time. Dominant alleles ofFRI confer late flowering, which is reversed to earliness by vernalization. We cloned FRI and analyzed the molecular basis of the allelic variation. Most of the early-flowering ecotypes analyzed carry FRI alleles containing one of two different deletions that disrupt the open reading frame. Loss-of-function mutations at FRI have thus provided the basis for the evolution of many early-flowering ecotypes.

  • * Present address: Department of Plant Biochemistry, Lund University, Post Office Box 117, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: caroline.dean{at}

  • Present address: Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EA, UK.

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