I am absolutely fascinated by an article I recently read on Landscapeonline.com about research to make annuals become perennials.
Researchers have found that only 2 genes, which are associated with flowering, control the development of perennial growth. Altering these two genes, they have been able to make annual plants into perennial plants. Of course, there are side effects (you can’t get something for nothing)…plants tend to not flower or, they flower much later after going through the change. So for now, to get our fix of bright splashes of color we will still have to shell every spring and summer.
If you are interested in this ongoing research here are a number of links to places where you can read more about it:
(These are mostly hard science papers geared for researchers):
- Flowering-time genes modulate meristem determinacy and growth form in Arabidopsis thaliana
- The CONSTANS gene of Arabidopsis promotes flowering and encodes a protein showing similarities to zinc finger transcription factors.
- Regulation pattern of the FRUITFULL (FUL) gene of Arabidopsis thaliana
- Reproductive competence from an annual and a perennial perspective
- How Plants Become Annuals vs. Perennials
- Annuals converted into perennials: Only two genes make the difference between herbaceous plants and trees
Image: Arabidopsis thaliana by CC