Plants May Be Able To Think And Remember

Posted: Apr 28 2016, 8:42am CDT | by , in Latest Science News


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Plants May Be Able To Think and Remember
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People who are vegans or vegetarians and say that they don't eat meat because the animal can think and feel might not want to continue reading this article. According to a biologist from the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Massachusetts, plants have some capacity to retain information or form memories. Susan Lindquist has discovered a protein in thale cress that acts like a prion.

Prions (also known as misfolded proteins) cause degenerative diseases in animals and humans, including mad cow and Creutzfeld-Jakob. But the protein Lindquist found, which is called Luminidependens (LD), which responds to natural light and controls when the plant flowers.

Lindquist and her team aren't completely sure that all plants will have a prion-like protein. They observed LD's behavior when they put it into a yeast solution. They have been grinding up various species of plants to look for proteins. The group says that if they really do exist, they could serve the same purpose as they do in something simple, like fruit flies. In insects, clusters of misfolded proteins forms or stabilize long-term memories for the insects. In plants, this means that the disfigured proteins could be in charge of monitoring and "remembering' environmental temperatures. In turn, this teaches them when it is safe to bloom and when they should not.

There is still a lot of research left on this topic, according to Nature. They are going to be using different plants, trying out computer algorithms, and even do some field investigation to figure out if all of this has merit and where to go from there in terms of studying. There are hopes that a breakthrough could lead to better plants of all kinds, including food.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/46" rel="author">Noel Diem</a>
Noel passion is to write about geek culture.




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