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A scientist has discovered a potentially new form of plant communication, one that allows them to share an extraordinary amount of genetic information with one another. The finding throws open the door to a new arena of science that explores how plants communicate with each other on a molecular level. It also gives scientists new insight into ways to fight parasitic weeds that wreak havoc on food crops in some of the poorest parts of the world.
Westwood examined the relationship between a parasitic plant, dodder, and two host plants, Arabidopsis and tomatoes. In order to suck the moisture and nutrients out of the host plants, dodder uses an appendage called a haustorium to penetrate the plant. Westwood has previously broken new ground when he found that during this parasitic interaction, there is a transport of RNA between the two species. RNA translates information passed down from DNA, which is an organism's blueprint.
His new work expands this scope of this exchange and examines the mRNA, or messenger RNA, which sends messages within cells telling them which actions to take, such as which proteins to code. It was thought that mRNA was very fragile and short-lived, so transferring it between species was unimaginable.
But Westwood found that during this parasitic relationship, thousands upon thousands of mRNA molecules were being exchanged between both plants, creating this open dialogue between the species that allows them to freely communicate.
Through this exchange, the parasitic plants may be dictating what the host plant should do, such as lowering its defenses so that the parasitic plant can more easily attack it. Westwood's next project is aimed at finding out exactly what the mRNA are saying.
Plants are very interesting & we barely understand their crazy network. They feel pain & do well if you talk and/or sing to them. They do worse if you shout & yell at them. Very interesting stuff to me.
originally posted by: Iamthatbish
originally posted by: knoledgeispower
a reply to: Iamthatbish
tofu & nuts :p bon appetit
Those still come from plants silly. I'd have to convert to being a breathatarian!