A Blog Around The Clock

Fiona turns green and ogre-ish at night

‘Fiona’ Gene Controls Flower’s Physiologic Clock:

Scientists have found a new gene that regulates the daily and yearly physiological cycles of flowering and seeding.

POSTECH researchers, led by Nam Hong-gil and Kim Jeong-sik, said that they named the gene FIONA1 after the heroine in the popular animation “Shrek.” In the animation, princess Fiona is human by day but becomes an ogress at sunset. Fiona also sounds similar to the term “flowering” in Korean.

The research is a foundation for further discoveries of the plants’ clock systems, the team said. To study the gene, the POSTECH team used mutated cress, a species of weed widely used in such experiments because of its short seeding cycle and small genome size.

“We have identified the novel clock component, FIONA1 (FIO1), which is closely associated with the central oscillator and is critical to maintaining the correct period length, but it is not necessary for maintaining the amplitude of circadian rhythm,” the researchers said in the paper published on Plant Cell magazine last week.

I am assuming that, when they find the next gene whose protein interacts closely with the Fiona protein, they will name it Shrek. Who said that scientists have no sense of humor?