The formation of flowers, a tightly controlled process, is modulated by developmental as well as environmental cues. Among the environmental factors that influence flowering, our knowledge of the effects of growth temperature is relatively less. In the July issue of PLoS Genetics, we have shown that higher temperatures can induce flowering by passing the requirement for long photoperiods for floral transition in Arabidopsis thaliana. By exploiting natural variation in combination with mutant analysis and genome wide expression profiling, we have shown that this floral induction has a novel genetic basis and is possibly associated with genome wide alterations in splicing patterns of several transcripts including FLOWERING LOCUS M, which we have shown to be a major effect QTL for thermo-sensitivity. Our study nicely demonstrates the power of a combinatorial approach to understand the molecular genetic basis of complex traits. In this addendum, we propose a testable hypothesis for FLM function in regulation of temperature mediated floral transition as well as the function of FLM in flowering time regulation.
- Natural variation