Genetic switch turns leaves into flowers

12 May 2012
Posted by Kat Arney.

Scientists at the National University of Singapore have discovered the molecular 'switch' that makes plants produce flowers rather than leaves, publishing their results in the journal PLoS Biology.

Although it's one of the most important things that a plant does, the actual mechanisms underpinning how this happens are relatively unknown.

The researchers, led by Hao Yu, discovered that the protein FTIP1 is important for making plants flower at the right time under normal light conditions, while plants with a faulty version don't flower on time.

Manipulating FTIP1 or similar proteins in crop plants could be useful for increasing crop yields in different environments.

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