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Front Plant Sci. 2015 Apr 9;6:207. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2015.00207. eCollection 2015.

Genetic control of flowering time in legumes.

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School of Biological Sciences, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS Australia.


The timing of flowering, and in particular the degree to which it is responsive to the environment, is a key factor in the adaptation of a given species to various eco-geographic locations and agricultural practices. Flowering time variation has been documented in many crop legumes, and selection for specific variants has permitted significant expansion and improvement in cultivation, from prehistoric times to the present day. Recent advances in legume genomics have accelerated the process of gene identification and functional analysis, and opened up new prospects for a molecular understanding of flowering time adaptation in this important crop group. Within the legumes, two species have been prominent in flowering time studies; the vernalization-responsive long-day species pea (Pisum sativum) and the warm-season short-day plant soybean (Glycine max). Analysis of flowering in these species is now being complemented by reverse genetics capabilities in the model legumes Medicago truncatula and Lotus japonicus, and the emergence of genome-scale resources in a range of other legumes. This review will outline the insights gained from detailed forward genetic analysis of flowering time in pea and soybean, highlighting the importance of light perception, the circadian clock and the FT family of flowering integrators. It discusses the current state of knowledge on genetic mechanisms for photoperiod and vernalization response, and concludes with a broader discussion of flowering time adaptation across legumes generally.


flowering; legume; pea; photoperiod; soybean

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