The main function of ethylene is on fruit maturation and the senescence of leaves and flowers. In species with climacteric fruit, maturation is induced by an increase in this hormone. It is also responsible for the change in colour of some non-climacteric fruits (that is, fruit whose maturation is not affected by ethylene), as occurs in citrus fruit. Ethylene is used to mature fruit that has been collected prematurely. It is applied by burning in closed chambers or with ethephon, a product which decomposes into ethylene when hydrolysed in the plant.
As a result of the problems with isolating florigen, and of the inconsistent results acquired, it has been suggested that florigen does not exist as an individual substance; rather, florigen's effect could be the result of a particular ratio of other hormones.   However, more recent findings indicate that florigen does exist and is produced, or at least activated, in the leaves of the plant and that this signal is then transported via the phloem to the growing tip at the shoot apical meristem where the signal acts by inducing flowering. In Arabidopsis thaliana , some researchers have identified this signal as mRNA coded by the FLOWERING LOCUS T ( FT ) gene, others as the resulting FT protein.  First report of FT mRNA being the signal transducer that moves from leaf to shoot apex came from the publication in Science Magazine. However, in 2007 other group of scientists made a breakthrough saying that it is not the mRNA, but the FT Protein that is transmitted from leaves to shoot possibly acting as "Florigen".  The initial article  that described FT mRNA as flowering stimuli was retracted by the authors themselves.