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Rain off and on all day today. Big mushroom came up in the front yard.
I had hopes it was a meadow mushroom, so I went out and picked it. It
wasn't, sad to say--but the time of year is right for them, so I'll
have to keep looking.

Rain's supposed to continue all through tomorrow before tapering off,
then start up again Monday. I don't know what all this moisture will
mean to the vegetable patch, but it will be great for most everything

OSU posted this item earlier this week. I found it interesting.

CORVALLIS, Ore.  More than 125 years ago Charles Darwin first
reported that most plants grow in a spurt during the night, not the
day  and this week, scientists are reporting the discovery of the
genes that control this phenomenon.
  These rhythmic growth spurts, and the ability of plants to move in
response to light, are actually controlled by genes involved in
circadian rhythms  the biological clock genes that are influenced
by light and dark, vary their activity based on time of day, and are
increasingly found in both plants and animals to control a wide
variety of functions, ranging from growth to nervous system function
and even fertility.

  This is an incremental but important step in understanding how
plants grow, said Todd Mockler, an assistant professor of botany at
Oregon State University, and co-author of the report with colleagues
at the University of California at San Diego and the Salk Institute
for Biological Studies.

Ultimately, more understanding of these growth genetics could allow
scientists to create plants that grow faster, produce more food or
have other useful characteristics, the researchers said.

  The findings will be reported this week in PloS Biology, a
professional journal. The research was funded by the National Science
Foundation, National Institutes of Health and the Howard Hughes
Medical Institute.

  We now know that the expression of certain genes and hormones at
night and just before dawn is important for plant growth, Mockler
said. During the day, the plant focuses on other tasks, such as the
photosynthesis that produces its energy. And plants are not only
responding to time of day, but also the length of daylight to control
such things as flowering time and stem length.

  When such mechanisms are more fully analyzed, it may be possible to
influence them with genetic modification, Mockler said.

  This advance was made possible largely by the use of DNA microarrays
and bioinformatics, most of which was done at OSU. This technology
allows powerful computers to be combined with more conventional
biological research to examine thousands of genes in an organism, in a
very short period of time, and determine which ones are active and
what their role is.

  Researchers now believe that almost all plant genes are expressed
only at a particular time of day, depending on the growth condition.
And they use growth and movement to maximize their chance of survival
in a competitive environment  a plant leaf, for instance, will
literally move if it becomes shaded by another plant.

In 1880, in one of his lesser-known works that was not focused on
animal evolution, Darwin first described this phenomenon. He found
that rather than growing at a steady rate, plants often grow in
regular nightly spurts.

The findings in this study were made with the plant Arabidopsis, a
small plant in the mustard family that is often used as a model for
genetic research. A glowing enzyme, luciferase, was attached to the
genes that were identified as responsible for rhythmic growth. And it
would glow, on and off, as the genes began functioning to create the
hormones responsible for growth in the dark of night.

The research program also learned that most of the genes involved in
this process have a common DNA sequence, which they called the HUD
element for hormone up at dawn.

Further studies are needed to identify a protein that attaches to this
HUD element and regulates its function. Identifying that regulator,
the scientists said, could open the door to ways to control plant
growth and yield.

Island Jim
Willamette Valley
44.99 N 123.04 W
Elevation 148'
39.9" Precipitation
Hardiness Zone 8/9
Heat Zone 5
Sunset Zone 6
Minimum 0 F [-15 C]
Maximum 102 F [39 C]

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