16th Oct 2014

Two new UK Arabidopsis papers for your reading pleasure this week: a Plant, Cell & Environment paper involving researchers from Hull and York, and a New Phytologist paper proposing a new model of flowering time in annual plants, which involved Oxbridge scientists.


  • Atkinson LJ, Sherlock DJ and Atkin OK. Source of nitrogen associated with recovery of relative growth rate in Arabidopsis thaliana acclimated to sustained cold treatment. Plant, Cell & Environment, 8 October 2014. DOI: 10.1111/pce.12460.

Lindsay Atkinson from the University of Hull’s Geography Department worked with York biology research technician David Sherlock and an Australian plant scientist on this paper in Plant, Cell & Environment. The team looked at whether plants acclimated to the cold were able to recover their previous relative growth rate, and if so, whether soil N status played a part in the plant’s efficiency of doing this. It was found that both increased N use efficiency and increase in nitrogen content per se play a role in the recovery of carbon metabolism in the cold.


  • Guilbaud CSE, Dalchau N, Purves DW and Turnbull LA. Is ‘peak N’ key to understanding the timing of flowering is annual plants? New Phytologist, 8 October 2014. DOI: 10.1111/nph.13095. [Open Access]

A previously prevailing theory suggests that flowering time in annual plants has evolved over evolutionary time to maximize fitness over a particular season length. However, in this paper a team from Oxford, Cambridge and Zurich propose a new model whereby flowering time is instead underpinned by peak uptake of nitrogen. Using mathematical models, and comparing against data collected from Arabidopsis thaliana, the researchers predict that flowers will never emerge after ‘peak N time’, and suggest further correlations between flowering time, vegetative growth rates and response to increased N availability.

Also spotted: acknowledgements for behind-the-scenes contributions from GARNet committee members Antony Dodd (Bristol) and Nick Harberd (Oxford).