Researchers from the University of California Riverside (UC Riverside) discovered the second gene involved in temperature sensing in plants that could promote food security amidst climate change.
The researchers modified a completely temperature-insensitive mutant Arabidopsis to make it reactive to temperature again. Upon examining the genes of the twice-mutated plant, they found a new gene, RCB, with products that work closely with HEMERA, the first gene they discovered to stabilize the heat-sensing function. These genes are distributed in the nucleus and chloroplasts. Both genes work together to control a group of master gene regulators that serve multiple functions such as reacting to temperature, growth, flowering, and greening of plants.
The discovery of the second gene could help researchers develop heat-tolerant plants that can endure the adverse effects of climate change.
(Source: Crop Biotech Update, International Service for Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications.

Yongjian Qiu, the paper's first author and former UCR assistant project scientist, now at University of Mississippi. Photo Credit: UC Riverside News