Flowering is controlled by environmental conditions and developmental regulation. The complexity of this regulation is created by an intricate network of signaling pathways. Arabidopsis is an excellent model system in which to approach this complexity, because it responds to many of the environmental conditions that control flowering in other species, and genetic tools are well developed. Studies in Arabidopsis have led to the identification of components within individual signaling pathways that affect flowering, and to their positioning within molecular hierarchies. Furthermore, distinct signaling pathways are known to converge on the activation of the same flowering-time genes. This convergence of pathways on a common set of genes may enable the integration of different responses, so that the plant can produce a coordinated flowering response under conditions in which multiple environmental parameters are changing simultaneously. Also, genetic analysis of Arabidopsis varieties showing natural variation in flowering time has demonstrated how the activity of these pathways can be altered in nature and how balancing the effects of different environmental stimuli on flowering time is important in plants adapting to growth in different geographical locations. At present, the full complexity of the flowering network can only be approached in Arabidopsis where the
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