Thursday, September 06, 2007


CAN plants hear? They all respond to light, which affects how they optimise growth and survival. Plants also have a sense of touch, allowing them to stiffen in response to wind, and a "taste" for nutrients. But whether they respond to sound is a mystery.

Now Mi-Jeong Jeong of the National Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology in Suwon, South Korea, and colleagues claim to have identified two genes in rice that respond to sound waves. They also say that the promoter of one of the sound-sensitive genes could be attached to other genes to make them respond to sound too.

The findings follow a host of similar, but unsubstantiated, claims that plants respond to sound. If the researchers are correct, they say their discovery could enable farmers to switch specific crop genes on and off, such as ones for flowering, by blasting sound into the fields.

Though these results "have been greeted with profound scepticism" by other researchers, if the tests can be repeated they'd indicate "that sound could be an alternative to light as a gene regulator."
It's not photosynthesis, then, but audiosynthesis. Geneto-acoustic biology.

[+ more]
via bldgblog

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