Plants recognize siblings

Posted by Trish Riley, October 15, 2009

Remember the secret life of plants? There’s more going on with this form of life than we realize; far greater implications even than this article suggests, seems to me:

“Newswise — Plants may not have eyes and ears, but they can recognize their siblings, and researchers at the University of Delaware have discovered how.
The ID system lies in the roots and the chemical cues they secrete.
The finding not only sheds light on the intriguing sensing system in plants, but also may have implications for agriculture and even home gardening.
The study, which is reported in the scientific journal Communicative & Integrative Biology, was led by Harsh Bais, assistant professor of plant and soil sciences at the University of Delaware.
Canadian researchers published in 2007 that sea rocket, a common seashore plant, can recognize its siblings — plants grown from seeds from the same mother.
Susan Dudley, an evolutionary plant ecologist at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and her colleagues observed that when siblings are grown next to each other in the soil, they “play nice” and don’t send out more roots to compete with one another.
However, the moment one of the plants is thrown in with strangers, it begins competing with them by rapidly growing more roots to take up the water and mineral nutrients in the soil.”

http://www.newswise.com/articles/plants-can-recognize-their-siblings-and-ud-researchers-have-discovered-how

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