“Maybe that’s what the night is for, just so’s we can know the difference when the light comes again.” — Howard Bahr (American Novelist)
Who will benefit from our research? Understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate the circadian clock in a constantly changing environment could lead to new crop improvement strategies that mitigate the impact of predicted medium-term changes in seasonal temperatures and less predictable weather patterns.
The circadian clock is important to agricultural crops as it influences a range of processes that are important for productivity such as flowering time, starch production, disease resistance, stomatal movements, responses to stress and lignification. Understanding the basic molecular regulation of the clock will allow us to establish whether crop growth and productivity can be enhanced by controlling clock function.
Our work will be of interest to crop scientists and plant biotechnology companies working on phenotypic traits and the underpinning genetics in crop species, and to government bodies responsible for future-proofing food production. Many of the principles governing the function of circadian clocks are broadly applicable across species; therefore our work will be of interest to the clock research community in general.