A QTL for flowering time in Arabidopsis reveals a novel allele of CRY2

S.E.D. El-Assal, C. Alonso-Blanco, A.J.M. Peeters, V. Raz, M. Koornneef

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310 Citations (Scopus)


Variation of flowering time is found in the natural populations of many plant species. The underlying genetic variation, mostly of a quantitative nature, is presumed to reflect adaptations to different environments contributing to reproductive success. Analysis of natural variation for flowering time in Arabidopsis thaliana has identified several quantitative trait loci (QTL)1, which have yet to be characterized at the molecular level. A major environmental factor that determines flowering time is photoperiod or day length, the length of the light period, which changes across the year differently with geographical latitude2. We identified the EDI locus as a QTL partly accounting for the difference in flowering response to the photoperiod between two Arabidopsis accessions: the laboratory strain Landsberg erecta (Ler), originating in Northern Europe, and Cvi, collected in the tropical Cape Verde Islands3. Positional cloning of the EDI QTL showed it to be a novel allele of CRY2, encoding the blue-light photoreceptor cryptochrome-2 that has previously been shown to promote flowering in long-day (LD) photoperiods4. We show that the unique EDI flowering phenotype results from a single amino-acid substitution that reduces the light-induced downregulation of CRY2 in plants grown under short photoperiods, leading to early flowering.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-440
JournalNature Genetics
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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