Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Genetics: Quick change

Nature Genet. doi:10.1038/ng.253 (2008)


By mutating just two genes, researchers in Belgium have turned a slender annual plant (inset) into a bushy, woody perennial (main picture).

Perennials have repeatedly evolved from annuals, but genetic changes that can cause this switch had not been identified. Siegbert Melzer of Ghent University and his colleagues studied Arabidopsis thaliana with mutations in soc1 and ful, which both regulate when the species flowers.

Mutants with dysfunctional forms of both genes formed woody stems and structures resembling dormant buds. These buds awakened periodically, producing several waves of growth and a longer lifespan.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Genetics: Quick change. Nature 456, 284 (2008).

Download citation


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing