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Flowering of apple trees and climate change

Identification of genes controlling the chilling requirements for apple trees to flower.

Apple tree in blossom. © INRA, N. Mansion
Updated on 09/04/2015
Published on 08/11/2015

Apple production depends on the amount of cold exposure received by buds during winter. Because of climate change, these requirements are not always met in certain areas such as in the south of Brazil, leading to irregularities in flowering and yield losses. As part of a French-Brazilian collaboration, the apple genes involved in the response to chilling have been identified. This study was conducted by using (1) Brazilian apple cultivars with contrasting chilling requirements for bud break, and (2) the AryANE chip developed at the IRHS1 which identifies the apple genes expressed.

The results show that the response to chilling mobilizes genes whose annotations are related to the circadian clock, hormonal signalling (auxin), regulation of growth and flower development. Moreover, the response to chilling involves transcription factors (FLOWERING LOCUS C-like and MADS AFFECTING FLOWERING) which are found in the regions of the genome identified in previous studies, such as regions of major control of bud break which reinforces the results of this study.

These results indicate that photosynthesis and auxin transport are major regulatory nodes of apple bud dormancy.

1 Research Institute for Horticulture and Seeds (INRA - Agrocampus Ouest - Angers University Joint Research Unit)

Partners: this work was conducted in collaboration with the team of L.F. Revers, EMBRAPA, Brazil.

Publication: Porto, D. D., Bruneau, M., Perini, P., Anzanello, R., Renou, J. P., dos Santos, H. P., Fialho, F. B., & Revers, L. F. (2015). Transcription profiling of the chilling requirement for bud break in apples: a putative role for FLC-like genes. Journal of Experimental Botany, 66(9), 2659-2672. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erv061

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Associated Division(s):
Plant Biology and Breeding
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