The scientists of the universities of Leiden and Wageningen (The Netherlands), Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), University of Peshawar (Pakistan) have found that the AHL15 gene converts monocotyledonous plants into perennials.
Remco Offringa, a professor at Leiden University, notes that plants have growth points on their branches. These are groups of stem cells that can form new stems with leaves or flowers. In perennials, some of these growth points remain vegetative, so after flowering, the plant can continue to grow in the next season. This does not happen in monocotyledonous plants and the plant is destroyed. The gene found determines whether the plant's growth points will remain vegetative after flowering. Studies have been conducted on the plant Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). The genome of this plant is very short, consisting of a total of 157 million pairs of nucleotide bases. Therefore, Arabidopsis is considered a suitable object for genetic research. In 2000, the genid sequence of Arabidopsis became the first plant to be fully read. More than twenty thousand genes of Arabidopsis are currently known. Its development period lasts only six weeks. After sowing the seeds, the plant is destroyed. However, when the expression of the AHL15 gene was significantly increased in experimental plants, the Arabidopsis plant continued to grow after flowering, and even flowering was repeated several times.
When this gene is silenced, the life of the plant is reduced. According to Professor Offringa, "The discovery of this gene expands fundamental knowledge about the life cycle of plants and their aging. This gene may also answer the question of why some species are monocotyledonous and others are perennials during evolution