Breakthrough: 'Global warming gene'

Nov 29, 2011
Breakthrough: 'Global warming gene'

The molecular mechanism which makes some plants grow more rapidly when the temperature rises has been identified by researchers at the University of Bristol in a paper published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Scientists at the University of Bristol, along with their colleagues in Minnesota and at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, have recently published exciting new research in the journal PNAS, which increases our knowledge about the way in which rising temperatures affect plant growth.

Just a small a change in (from 20 C - 28 C) is enough to cause a striking change in plant height. According to Dr Kerry Franklin, who led the Bristol team, “Small elevations in ambient temperature promote the rapid elongation of plant stems, which can have negative impacts on plant stability and crop yields”.

In a previous study, published in Current Biology, the Franklin lab found that this response is missing in plants that lack the gene PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTOR 4 (PIF4). The new study shows that PIF4 can increase the production of the plant growth hormone auxin and that it is this that leads to the exaggerated height of plants grown at high temperature. The team have further shown that this then leads to the activation of auxin-responsive genes in stems, providing a key mechanistic insight into this important growth response.

Although we are still at the early stages understanding how temperature effects , this paper offers tantalising prospects by which science may be able to alleviate some of the damaging effects of global warming. In Dr Franklin’s words, “With global temperatures predicted to continue rising in the near future, understanding how plants respond to small changes in ambient temperature will be fundamental to establishing efficient crop production strategies over coming decades”.

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More information: Franklin KA, Lee S-H, Patel D, Kumar VS, Spartz AK, Gu C, Ye S, Yu P, Breen G, Cohen JD, Wigge PA and Gray WM. (2011) PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTOR 4 regulates auxin biosynthesis at high temperature. PNAS

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knowledge_treehouse
not rated yet Nov 29, 2011
We'll be outta hydrocarbons before we start buffering our melanocytes with acai pigment.
Guy_Underbridge
1 / 5 (1) Nov 29, 2011
The lesson here, kids, is you'll have to cut the grass more often with global warming. At least until the desertification kicks in.
Sean_W
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 29, 2011
Just a small a change in temperature (from 20 C - 28 C)...


What? A SMALL change of 8 degrees? Given that the climate dowsers are claiming that one or two degrees change is enough to unleash Hell on Earth, I am going to assume that this was a typo. A rather sloppy one given the importance of the numbers.
Sean_W
2 / 5 (4) Nov 29, 2011
And regarding the title: "global warming gene"? Do people think about what they write anymore? Or did that go out with saving your data so that others can examine your claims?
Scott101
not rated yet Nov 29, 2011
Just a small a change in temperature (from 20 C - 28 C)...


What? A SMALL change of 8 degrees? Given that the climate dowsers are claiming that one or two degrees change is enough to unleash Hell on Earth, I am going to assume that this was a typo. A rather sloppy one given the importance of the numbers.

Hi Sean,

I beleive what you're quoting is the expected AVERAGE global rise in temperature. This accounts for areas that are likely to become cooler as well as areas that are likely to become warmer. The IPCC are expecting rises of more than 8 degrees in certain locals.
As to the headline I agree it is a bit sloppy, but hey! It got your attention!
Not sure what you mean about the data. The article is in PNAS with all the data and supplimentary data available to those who want it!
SteveL
3 / 5 (2) Nov 29, 2011
The IPCC are expecting rises of more than 8 degrees in certain locals.
You mean the IPCC that gets half of its Lead Authors from the WWF and Greenpeace?

http://www.thegwp...orms.pdf

I'm not a denier, the evidence is simply too clear from too many directions, but I look upon anything from the IPCC with a jaundiced eye. Any time writers have a predetermined agenda their data should be considered hand-picked and therefore suspect.
Scott101
not rated yet Nov 29, 2011
The IPCC are expecting rises of more than 8 degrees in certain locals.
You mean the IPCC that gets half of its Lead Authors from the WWF and Greenpeace?


That is true. However writers without a predetermined agenda are very hard to find (I just looked up some of the gwpf boardmembers and advisors!).

I think the paper that the article is based on is not actually about climate change at any rate. It is a molecular biol paper and studies how plants sense ambient temperature changes. Whether or not global temperatures are rising is incidental. This is still important research and improves our understanding of the natural world.