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Keywords:

  • flowering;
  • long-distance signals;
  • modelling;
  • photoperiod;
  • Pisum sativum

Summary

  • • 
    During plant development, the transition from a vegetative to reproductive state is a critical event. For decades, pea (Pisum sativum) has been used as a model species to study this transition. These studies have led to a conceptual, qualitative model for the control of flower initiation, referred to as the ‘classical’ model. This model involves many inputs, namely photoperiod, genetic states and two mobile signals which interact to determine the first node of flowering.
  • • 
    Here, we developed a computational model based on the hypotheses of the classical model. Accordingly, we converted qualitative hypotheses into quantitative rules.
  • • 
    We found that new hypotheses, in addition to those already described for the classical model, were required that explicitly described the signals. In particular, we hypothesized that the key flowering gene HR interacts with the photoperiod pathway to control flowering. The computational model was tested against a wide range of biological data, including pre-existing and new experimental results presented here, and was found to be accurate.
  • • 
    This computational model, together with ongoing experimental advances, will assist future modelling efforts to increase our understanding of flowering in pea.