February 1, 2015
JOHNSTON, S.C. (AP) - A group of Clemson University researchers hopes to answer a question that thousands of peach growers have asked for years: How does a peach know when the cold winter weather is over and it is time to grow?
The concept has been known for decades in the plant world as chill hours. Clemson plant biologist Doug Bielenberg is trying to figure out how a plant has this memory for cold weather and which genes control the process.
If scientists learn how to manipulate the peach's chill hours, the research could be groundbreaking. Bielenberg says that by reducing the hours, plants could be grown in a large number of climates across the earth. For peach farmers, it could mean getting larger, juicer varieties into stores faster.