?Speaker: Bob Anderssen, CSIRO Data61 Title: How do plants know when to flower? When: Monday June 6 at 2:30-3:30pm Where: 6.210
Abstract: For the survival of its species, most plants must flower to make the seeds for the next generation. Economically, for various reasons including successful food production, understanding the process biologically is fundamental. In particular, there is a need to identify, for different species of plants, what is the cue that initiates the flowering. Many plants use the photoperiod of day-length. For eucalypts, it is some opportunistic event such as a wet spell after a dry period. For bamboo, the cue appears to be the aging of the oldest plants with the time between flowering events involving decades and the initiation simultaneously triggering the flowering of all the surrounding bamboo. For many crop plants, such as wheat, barley, oats and canola, it is the cold of winter that subsequently triggers the activation of the flowering genes which had been suppressed by a flowering repressor which is activated at seed germination and fosters the initial vegetative growth. Using the model vernalization-responsive plant, Arabidopsis, much data has been collected for which modelling is required. The importance of having quantitative models relates to having a formal basis for comparing the same species under different environmental and stress situations as well as comparing specific behaviour patterns of different species. The talk will discuss the mathematical modelling of
(i) How a plant switches on its genetics in response to a cold event.
(ii) How the cold of winter is epigenetically remembered so that flowering occurs when spring arrives.
(iii) The developmental measurement of flowering time as rosette leaf number. The related research, on which this talk is based, is a result of collaboration with Jean Finnegan, Christopher Helliwell and Masumi Robertson of CSIRO Agriculture.
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