The initiation of flowering is well understood, but the process by which flowering ends is not. However, in many species, this is an equally dramatic transition. For instance, across the northern hemisphere, huge fields of bright-yellow oilseed rape suddenly turn green at the end of May, marking the end of the flowering period. It has previously been suggested that cumulative production of seed is the primary trigger for the end of flowering, but this model is incompatible with most species. Instead, our current data suggest there is a distinct regulatory mechanism by which individual inflorescences undergo ‘floral arrest’, at least partially independently of seed set. We are currently investigating the molecular basis for this phenomenon. Our current model suggests that two factors are required for floral arrest; one factor which makes inflorescence meristems competent to arrest, and one which allows meristems to act on that arrest.
Please contact us if you would be interested in working on floral arrest!