Climate warming shortens flowering period: Only two flowering genes predict flowering times with high accuracy

Research Press Release | September 04, 2013

Press Release
Key Points

– Development of a method for predicting the initiation and termination of flowering in complex natural environments by investigating the expression levels of the two main genes that regulate flowering time

– Prediction that climate warming will be associated with shorter flowering period, and a temperature increase of approximately 5ºC will prevent flowering

– May be used as a technique for evaluating the unexplored risks imposed on ecosystems by global warming, and for regulating the yield of important crops


Flowering times in plants are closely associated with climate change. There have been numerous reports of the effect of global warming in changing flowering and leaf fall times, but its molecular mechanism was not understood.

In this study, we established a method of predicting flowering times with a high degree of accuracy based on the molecular mechanism of temperature response in plants, by following the expression levels of just two flowering genes under complex natural temperature environments. Future predictions made by using this method indicated that climate warming will shorten flowering time, and that ultimately 5ºC rise in temperature will prevent flowering completely. This method may be useful as a green innovation technique for predicting how natural or agro-ecosystems will respond to global warming.


Akiko Satake, Associate Professor, Faculty of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University




Hiroshi Kudo, Professor, Center for Ecological Research, Kyoto University

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Japanese Link
Publications Nature Communications (2013.8.13)