Capital team has to reset plant alarm clock theory

CITY scientists have made fresh discoveries about the processes that govern plants’ internal clocks and help them adjust to changing seasons, triggering the arrival of flowers in spring.

Researchers from Edinburgh University tested computer models of gene networks in a cress plant to determine the role played by a protein, known as TOC1, in governing these daily cycles.

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The model shows how 12 genes work together to run the plant’s complex clockwork, and reset the clock at dawn and dusk each day.

Researchers found that TOC1, which was associated with helping plants waken, is in fact involved in dampening gene activity in the evening.

The findings contradict what scientists had understood about the gene’s role in early morning activity.