Accelerated breeding of plant species has the potential to help challenge environmental and biochemical cues to support global crop security. We demonstrate the over-expression of ArabidopsisFLOWERING LOCUS T in Agrobacterium-mediated transformed cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz; cultivar 60444) to trigger early flowering in glasshouse-grown plants. An event seldom seen in a glasshouse environment, precocious flowering and mature inflorescence were obtained within 4-5 months from planting of stem cuttings. Manual pollination using pistillate and staminate flowers from clonal propagants gave rise to viable seeds that germinated into morphologically typical progeny. This strategy comes at a time when accelerated crop breeding is of increasing importance to complement progressive genome editing techniques.
Keywords: FLOWERING LOCUS T; Manihot esculenta Crantz; biotechnology; breeding; cassava; flowering; grafting; recalcitrant crops; seed.