Flowering trigger uncovered

Some clever genetic manipulation has led scientists to identify the chemical that allows daylength to trigger flowering in plants – all plants, it looks like. It is the protein produced by the gene called Flowering Locus T, or FT. This means that crop beeders will now have a better shot at developing varieties which will flower at different latitudes, useful as climate zones shift due to climate change.

Using native plants

It may be a bit of a stretch for this blog, but I liked a recent Christian Science Monitor article on the increasing use of native plants – at the expense of exotics – for landscaping in some parts of the US. The authors credit more awareness of climate change, and in particular worries about excessive water use in ever more drought-prone areas, for this shift in attitudes.

Welsh pony in trouble?

A long article in icWales, the self-described “national website of Wales,” details the predicament of the local pony breed. Once an important part of everyday rural life – and indeed industrial life, due to their use in coal mines – more recently a children’s trekking pony, there is now limited demand for the breed. Wild herds have thus declined dramatically, no doubt resulting in genetic erosion. Does it matter? A resounding yes echoes around the hills.