Elli Koskela was awarded the best PhD thesis price at the University of Helsinki in 2016! In her thesis, Elli studied woodland strawberry mutant that flowers and produces fruits continuously. She found that a recessive mutation in a floral repressor Terminal Flower1 (TFL1) causes continuous flowering, whereas plants containing functional TFL1 exhibit typical seasonal flowering habit. Elli also demonstrated that the silencing of this repressor in cultivated strawberry leads to continuous flowering, which opens new possibilities to combine continuous fruit production with other valuable traits in this economically-important crop. In her third paper, Elli showed that an arctic woodland strawberry from Alta in Northern Norway flowers only after long winter because of specific TFL1 allele, indicating that TFL1 may play a role in local adaptation.
TFL1 mutant (left) is starting to flower, whereas wild type plants remain vegetative
Photo: Timo Hytönen
Elli Koskela received the University of Helsinki PhD thesis prize for her outstanding thesis on the topic “Genetic and environmental control of flowering in wild and cultivated strawberries”.