Plants Use Circadian Rhythms to Prepare For Battle With Insects
provided by Rice University
In a study of the molecular underpinnings of plants’ pest resistance, Rice University biologists have shown that plants both anticipate daytime raids by hungry insects and make sophisticated preparations to fend them off.
“When you walk past plants, they don’t look like they’re doing anything,” said Janet Braam, an investigator on the new study, which appears this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “It’s intriguing to see all of this activity down at the genetic level. It’s like watching a besieged fortress go on full alert.”
Braam, professor and chair of Rice’s Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, said scientists have long known that plants have an internal clock that allows them to measure time regardless of light conditions. For example, some plants that track the sun with their leaves during the day are known to “reset” their leaves at night and move them back toward the east in anticipation of sunrise…
(read more: Science Daily) (image: Tommy LaVergne/Rice University)