Researchers at UC Riverside are making progress in their understanding of how plants respond to heat, a step that could eventually lead to crops that can withstand higher temperatures as the climate continues changing.

The scientists previously identified a gene connected to temperature sensing and this research discovered a second one, which they say is a “novel temperature signaling component that functions collaboratively” with their earlier find.

In a paper published this week in the journal Nature Communications, the team said together these two discoveries are helping them pinpoint what controls plants’ thermoregulation during the daytime, when temperatures typically get the hottest.

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"We need plants that can endure warmer temperatures,” said UCR botany and plant sciences professor Meng Chen, an author on the paper. He said next steps in the lab will be to identify these two genes’ interconnected roles in growth, flowering and other stages of plant development.

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