The life cycle of annual plants can be divided in different phases that include vegetative growth, reproductive adult phase, seed set and senescence. Since plants are organisms that cannot migrate when the external conditions are not favourable, the transition between the different life phases needs to be strictly controlled. In fact, the basis of an adaptive life relies on the ability to respond in different ways to environmental and/or internal cues in different developmental stages. From all the external variables, temperature is one of the strongest signals that plants sense and adapt to. For this reason, the current context of climate change is altering the timing of crucial transitions such as the transition to flowering.
In my PhD project we aim to study two temperature-regulated traits, flowering time and seed dormancy, that have been separately researched for several years but that have been recently proposed to be interconnected. Both traits are fundamental for the reproductive success and survival of any plant specie. Therefore, knowledge of plant plasticity and adaptation to temperature fluctuations is vital for a sustainable global food security. We will combine techniques such as CRISPR-Cas9, molecular cloning or yeast-two-hybrid to understand the complex multitasking role of temperature-responsive key regulatory members that link timing of flowering and seed dormancy.