Comparative transcriptomics reveals desynchronisation of gene expression during the floral transition between Arabidopsis and Brassica rapa cultivars

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Comparative transcriptomics can be used to translate an understanding of gene regulatory networks from model systems to less studied species. Here, we use RNA-Seq to determine and compare gene expression dynamics through the floral transition in the model species Arabidopsis thaliana and the closely related crop Brassica rapa. We find that different curve registration functions are required for different genes, indicating that there is no single common `developmental time between Arabidopsis and B. rapa. A detailed comparison between Arabidopsis and B. rapa, and between two B. rapa accessions reveals different modes of regulation of the key floral integrator SOC1, and that the floral transition in the B. rapaaccessions is triggered by different pathways.Our study adds to the mechanistic understanding of the regulatory network of flowering time in rapid cycling B. rapa and highlights the importance of registration methods for the comparison of developmental gene expression data.