Changing climate is creating a need for new crops, better able to withstand certain conditions. One aspect of this is flowering time. Even within one species of plant, there is huge variation in the way plants respond to day length and temperature and the way they influence flowering.
Dr Jim Weller's research is looking into the genetics of legumes and the way they have evolved to adapt to different climates and conditions. He and his team have managed to collect a number of plant varieties from around the world and are investigating the impact of seasons on these plants. Through the University of Tasmania's unique glasshouse facilities, researchers are able to artificially create conditions based on the four seasons, with control over day length.
They have been able to identify a gene they believe has a large role in determining survival in winter and summer. They are also running a large cross- pollination program with current species and their ancestors.
Dr Weller hopes this research will lead to development of new crops that perform better in environments impacted by global warming.
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