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Be Advised: Plants Talk To Each Other On The Genetic Level

A new study has shown that a plant which is a parasite of another communicates with the latter by exchanging pieces of RNA. 

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Whether or not plants hear and talk to us, they sure talk among themselves – some of them, at least. This has been established by scientific research in the past: plants communicate to each other via signals in the form of chemicals. Some species of plants, in fact, have sophisticated means of interacting with others of their kinds: while some can share genetic information, others send warning messages of possible insect attacks. The former form of communication entails parasitic plants attaching onto their hosts.

Dodder, which is a parasite, attaches onto the other plant known as Arabidopsis, stealing some of its nutrients in the process via an appendage. However, to have their meal of nutrients, Dodder has to first identify its host. It was previously thought that it uses chemicals to do so. Now, a new study has demonstrated that dodder uses a genetic method: it exchanges RNA with the plant. These two plants thereby ‘talk’ to each other as they exchange pieces of mRNA.
What do they say to each other then? Mystery, mystery. Perhaps, Dodder signals its host to ‘allow’ it to drain its nutrients by tricking it to lower its defenses?

Plants may not need words to talk to each other, which might make us think of them as less sophisticated creatures than us. However, they could be endowed with far superior abilities.

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2 comments

  1. Jerry James on

    lf plant communicate to each other through whatever method.How do plant communicate to their obstructions or obstacles on the grounds with their roots to break through with easy?

    Reply
  2. TekCroach on

    After all, every type of communication is chemical. Sound for example is just the outcome of some chemical reaction within the organism, which itself becomes the chosen way of communication.

    Reply

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