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Changes in gene expression suggest plants may ‘feel’ touch

| | May 31, 2016
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By and large, most research seeking to attribute a mental life to plants has been discredited over the years. Yet new research coming out of the University of Western Australia shows that while plants may not be able to think, they are—in a way—able to feel.

The UWA researchers arrived at this conclusion after they noticed that a change in the expression of thousands of plant genes occurred just minutes after they were sprayed with water. . . . [S]uggesting that plants are highly in touch with their immediate environment and capable of dynamic responses to changes in their surroundings.

“Unlike animals, plants are unable to run away from harmful conditions,” said Olivier Van Aken, the lead researcher in the study. “Instead, plants appear to have developed intricate stress defense systems to sense their environment and help them detect danger and respond appropriately.

. . . [S]imilar reactions in the plants were evoked when the researchers gently touched the plants, prodded them with tweezers, or cast a shadow over them. . . .

Read full, original post: Plants Know When They’re Being Touched

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