The diversity of life history strategies within the angiosperms illustrates the evolutionary flexibility of reproductive characteristics. The number of times an individual reproduces is a key life history trait, and transitions from iteroparous perennials to semelparous annuals have occurred frequently in the flowering plants. Despite the frequency of this evolutionary transition, and the importance of annuality versus perenniality to both agriculture and ecology, understanding the molecular and genetic mechanisms involved in perennial flowering is in their infancy. In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Kiefer et al. (2017) make significant progress towards understanding divergence in seasonal flowering between annual and perennial species in the Arabideae tribe of Brassicaceae. By combining a comparative approach with gene expression and sequence comparisons, they show that transcriptional differences in FLC orthologs, a floral inhibitor in Arabidopsis thaliana, have occurred repeatedly and underlie differences in flowering between annuals and perennials.
- flowering time
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics