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"We used the common garden pea plant (Pisum sativum) as the model for our study and put the plant into a container which had two tubes at the base, giving it a choice of two directions for the growth of its roots.
"We then exposed the plant to a series of sounds, including white noise, running water and then a recording of running water under each tube, and observed its behaviour.
The scientists found that the plants could tell where the source of the water was and their root systems grew towards that source based on sensing the sound of running water alone.
"It also was surprising and extraordinary to see that the plant could actually tell when the sound of running water was a recording and when it was real and that the plant did not like the recorded sound."
Dr Gagliano said when moisture was readily available in the soil, the plant did not respond to the sound of running water.
Read more at: phys.org...
The idea that plants have nervous systems stems from several sources of information. First, plants have genes that are similar to those that specify components of animal nervous systems. Such components include receptors for glutamate, an amino acid that is one of the building blocks of proteins but that also functions as a neurotransmitter. Other components are neurotransmitter pathway activators, such as those known as G-box proteins, and a family of “14-3-3” proteins, which act to bind various signaling proteins. All these proteins have been observed in animals, in which they have been shown to have distinct roles in neural function. Yet they are also found in plants.
Second, although those proteins more than likely do not have “neural” functions in plants, some plant proteins do behave in ways very similar to neural molecules. Third, some plants seem to show synapse-like regions between cells, across which neurotransmitter molecules facilitate cell-to-cell communication. Included in the requirement for comparison is that the regions should have the same characteristics as animal synapses, such as the formation of vesicles, small bubbles that store the neurotransmitters that are to be released across the synapse. Fourth, many plants have vascular systems that look like they could act as conduits for the “impulses” that they need to transmit throughout the body of the plant. Last, some plant cells display what could be interpreted as action potentials—events in which the electrical polarity across the cell membrane does a quick, temporary reversal, as occurs in animal neural cells.
Let’s look at these various kinds of information and at what they may imply for the existence of brain-like functions in plants.
It is hardly surprising to find genes in plants that are related to animal genes involved in the nervous system. Indeed, confirmation of this fact was one of the first really interesting results of the various genome projects. The reason why it isn’t surprising is that all life on the planet is united through common ancestry. To find genes in common among broadly divergent organisms is what you’d expect with descent from common ancestors. Thus a typical bacterial genome turns out to have the equivalent of 2 percent or so of its genes in the human genome. For plants the number is about 17 percent, and for such organisms as flies and worms the number jumps to between 30 and 40 percent. Another way to measure similarity of genomes is to ask how much the actual sequences of bases in the genes of a genome vary. For vertebrates, when sequence similarity is examined, the number ranges from about 85 percent, for such distant relatives as fish, to 98.7 percent, for the chimpanzee, and 99.7 percent for our close extinct relative, Homo neanderthalensis. What was not so expected, though, is the broad distribution of major gene categories that are represented in both plants and animals.
originally posted by: Misterlondon
This is an interesting bbc earth article..
It talks about plants communicating via a network of fungus roots. Something similar to the Internet.
Plant germination and growth can be influenced by sound, but the ecological significance of these responses is unclear. We asked whether acoustic energy generated by the feeding of insect herbivores was detected by plants. We report that the vibrations caused by insect feeding can elicit chemical defenses. Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) rosettes pre-treated with the vibrations caused by caterpillar feeding had higher levels of glucosinolate and anthocyanin defenses when subsequently fed upon by Pieris rapae (L.) caterpillars than did untreated plants. The plants also discriminated between the vibrations caused by chewing and those caused by wind or insect song. Plants thus respond to herbivore-generated vibrations in a selective and ecologically meaningful way. A vibration signaling pathway would complement the known signaling pathways that rely on volatile, electrical, or phloem-borne signals. We suggest that vibration may represent a new long distance signaling mechanism in plant–insect interactions that contributes to systemic induction of chemical defenses.
originally posted by: TobyFlenderson
a reply to: PhotonEffect
Extremely interesting. Thanks for posting. Makes one wonder what "consciousness" really is?