Plants have the same variation in body clocks as that found in humans, according to new research that explores the genes governing circadian rhythms in plants.
[...] These rhythmic patterns can vary depending on geography, latitude, climate and seasons - with plant clocks having to adapt to cope best with the local conditions.
[...] To investigate the genetic basis of these local differences, [researchers at the Earlham Institute and John Innes Centre in Norwich] examined varying circadian rhythms in Swedish Arabidopsis plants to identify and validate genes linked to the changing tick of the clock.
Dr Hannah Rees, a postdoctoral researcher at the Earlham Institute and author of the paper, said: “A plant’s overall health is heavily influenced by how closely its circadian clock is synchronised to the length of each day and the passing of seasons. An accurate body clock can give it an edge over competitors, predators and pathogens.
“We were interested to see how plant circadian clocks would be affected in Sweden; a country that experiences extreme variations in daylight hours and climate. Understanding the genetics behind body clock variation and adaptation could help us breed more climate-resilient crops in other regions.”
[...] "It’s amazing that just one base-pair change within the sequence of a single gene can influence how quickly the clock ticks," explained Dr Rees.
(Emphasis from original retained.)
Hannah Rees, Ryan Joynson, James K.M. Brown, et al. Naturally occurring circadian rhythm variation associated with clock gene loci in Swedish Arabidopsis accessions, Plant, Cell & Environment (DOI: 10.1111/pce.13941)