What is it about?

Nights are warming faster than days due to climate change. This nighttime warming hurts plant growth and yield, particularly in rice. The need to maintain crop yields in the face of this changing climate makes it essential to understand how warmer nights impact plants. This study shows a new way that warmer nights affect plants. The molecular activities in plants are regulated so that they occur at specific times of the day. This timing is vital for optimal growth and yields. Prior work by others has shown that disrupting this timing leads to worse overall performance. This study demonstrates that warmer nighttime temperatures disrupt this critical temporal organization. In addition, critical regulators and markers are identified that can be used to identify rice lines that are more tolerant to warming nights.

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Why is it important?

Climate change is complicated with many different facets. One largely unappreciated component is asymmetrical warming. While temperatures are generally increasing, this has not occurred equally between day and night. Over most important cropland-growing regions of the world, nights are warming faster than days. While many crops can tolerate a mild increase in daytime temperatures, a mild increase in nighttime temperatures is much more problematic. And yet, it is difficult to select plants tolerant to warmer nights until we fully understand how warmer nights impact plants. This work identifies additional effects of warmer nighttime temperatures on plants and candidate markers and regulators that can be tracked to improve plant resilience to warmer nights.

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This page is a summary of: Warm nights disrupt transcriptome rhythms in field-grown rice panicles, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, June 2021, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2025899118.
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