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Control of flowering time in temperate cereals: genes, domestication, and sustainable productivity

Cockram, James, Jones, Huw, Leigh, Fiona J., O'Sullivan, Donal, Powell, Wayne, Laurie, David A., Greenland, Andrew J.
Journal of experimental botany 2007 v.58 no.6 pp. 1231-1244
barley, domestication, flowering, genes, genetics, grain crops, plant reproduction, wheat
The control of flowering is central to reproductive success in plants, and has a major impact on grain yield in crop species. The global importance of temperate cereal crops such as wheat and barley has meant emphasis has long been placed on understanding the genetics of flowering in order to enhance yield. Leads gained from the dissection of the molecular genetics of model species have combined with comparative genetic approaches, recently resulting in the isolation of the first flowering time genes in wheat and barley. This paper reviews the genetics and genes involved in cereal flowering pathways and the current understanding of how two of the principal genes, Vrn and Ppd, have been involved in domestication and adaptation to local environments, and the implications for future breeding programmes are discussed.