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Wheat Gene That Spurs Flowering Is Isolated

June 14, 2003|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A gene that triggers flowering in wheat plants has been isolated for the first time, making it possible for scientists to one day develop more productive crops.

A team of scientists at UC Davis located the wheat gene that controls vernalization, the process by which cold temperatures prompt some plants to flower. Jorge Dubcovsky, the researcher who led the project, said the gene, called VRN1, could be manipulated so that farmers could grow region-specific varieties of wheat better attuned to the climate in which they grow for flowering at a particular time.

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