Researchers from the Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory have made great advances in the study of plant reproduction, using Arabidopsis as a model plant.
A team led by Professor Yu Hao has identified the protein that acts as a regulator to control the migration of a key florigen protein, which provides a signal to the plant to switch its growing tip from making leaves, to making flowers.
“Since many developmental parameters, such as branching patterns, are critical traits that determine crop yield, our findings provide key information on the genes involved and regulatory modes of crops in the fields of agriculture, horticulture and plant breeding,” says Professor Yu.
Generally, the more flowers a plant produces, the higher the crop yield. Therefore, advances in this area address vital issues relevant to plant research, such as the supply of food, medicine and biofuel.
The team’s research has been published in the leading PLoS Biology and the Developmental Cell journals. Professor Yu was also recognised for his outstanding contributions in this area, and was awarded the prestigious 2013 President’s Science Award. . Going forward, Professor Yu’s team is applying their findings to several crops, such as rice and oil palm. They hope to help increase those plants’ yields and as a result, boost food supply.