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International experts seek solutions to improve harvest yields

Connections between the three main aspects of plant biology: circadian clock function, photoperiodism and the interplay of light will be key to the future of agriculture.

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02.05.2011

BY BIOCAT

Fifty of the world’s top experts in the fields of plant biology, genetics and genomics will explore the connections between the main aspects of plant biology: circadian clock function, photoperiodism and the interplay of light. The debate sessions entitled Interplay of Light, Photoperiodism and Circadian Clock Function in Plant Development, organized by the International Center for Scientific Debate (CIDC), a Biocat initiative with support from “la Caixa” Welfare Projects, and the Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG), aim to improve knowledge on how these three factors determine plant growth and their physiological response to environmental conditions. The sessions will be held 4, 5, and 6 May at the Museu Colet in Barcelona.

By studying the connections between these essential aspects of plant biology, scientists will be able to understand how plants face the new environmental challenges posed by global warming and thus allow for improved harvest yields and agricultural practices. The aim of these sessions is to understand and identify how cells face tension caused by the earth’s rotation and the changing seasons, and contribute new knowledge that can be used to develop crops that ease the main problems facing the planet, like food scarcity, energy generation and the use of water.

Exactly the same thing happens in the human body: light is essential to synthesizing Vitamin D, regulating sleep patterns and the sensation of hunger, and influences, for example, our moods. Understanding the connections between the circadian clock, light and photoperiodism can also help us understand how these three factors influence the human body, which could be applied, for example, in avoiding jetlag, choosing the best time of day to administer drugs, or improving treatment of some types of cancer.

Paloma Mas, scientific director of the sessions, and Miquel Martí, director of the ICSD - Photo: © Biocat, Héctor Fuentes.

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