In a recent study, plant scientists share their discovery of a new gene (VRN-D4) critical for the development and growth habit of wheat. The study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, also known as PNAS, gives a better understanding of the adaptive changes that occurred in wheat during the early expansion of agriculture. This discovery can contribute to the development of new ways to increase wheat productivity in environments that are constantly changing. In wheat, barley and other temperate cereals, vernalization, or “flowering,” genes play an important role in accelerating reproduction.
First author, Nestor Kippes, a doctoral candidate in plant scientist Jorge Dubcovsky's lab at UC Davis, says "We're extremely interested in understanding the adaptive changes, especially vernalization, which occurred in wheat during the early expansion of agriculture because vernalization governs flowering time, it's important to a plant's reproductive success and key to maximizing grain production in wheat, barley and other cereal crops."
Read the abstract and full study here and the full press release here.