Scientists have unearthed mechanism by which Plants talk to one another, a form of inter-organism communication. The scientist studied the relationship between a parasitic plant and two host plants and mRna was exchanged between the plants. The study and its results could give new insights about how to eradicate parasitic weeds which destroy food crops in the poorest third world countries.
What the scientists found was a form of inter organism communication. The parasitic plant was instructing the host to lower its defenses so that the former can get unfettered access to the resources of the latter. The latest findings can open doors to a new era of science which can help scientists understand how plants communicate with one another at a molecular level.
Researchers have discovered how plants communicate with one another. They studied the communication between a parasitic plant called Dodder and two host plants Arabidopsis and tomatoes.
Professor Westwood is an expert in plant pathology, physiology and weeds science at Virginia Tech and said, ‘The discovery of this novel form of inter-organism communication shows that this is happening a lot more than any one has previously realized. That we have found that they are sharing all this information, the next question is, what exactly are they telling each other?”‘
The parasitic weed in this case is Dodder which uses its root like appendage also known as haustorium to penetrate the plant and draw nutrition. The research can give new insights about how to fight parasitic weeds which destroy food crops especially in poor third world countries.
When a parasitic weed attaches itself to any plant it sends messages through mRNA within the cells, literally dictating what the host plant should do. Through this exchange the parasitic weed could ask the plant to lower its defenses so that the parasite could easily enter the host and steal nutrition and water.
Professor Westwood had earlier discovered that during this parasitic interaction, there is a transport of RNA in between the host and the parasite. In fact Professor Westwood discovered that the interaction thousands upon thousands of mRNA molecules was being exchanged between both plants. It resembles some type of open dialogue between the two species.
Professor Westwood hopes to unearth precisely what the ‘mRNA’ is saying.