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May 11, 2012

Circadian Clock Gene Mutation Responsible for Barley Growing So Fast in Scandinavia's Short Summers

Barley Field in northern Europe
(Icknield Way, United Kingdom)
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Scientists at the John Innes Centre and the Max Planck Institute have discovered that a gene mutation related to the circadian clock allows barley varieties in Scandinavian to grow quickly during the region's short summers. Their findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The discovered gene mutation essentially "knocks out" the circadian clock and its functions in Scandinavian barley varieties. This allows flowering independent of the length of the day, which means this occurs much earlier in the shorter growing season. This discovery will help develop other plant varieties that are adaptable in shorter growing seasons. It is another "tool" in the fight against climate change.

Funding for this research at the John Innes Centre was provided by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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