Thursday, August 30, 2012

Do Plants Think?

According to a June 5, 2012, article in Scientific American titled “Do Plants Think?,” scientist Daniel Chamovitz, Ph.D., suggests plants “see,” “feel,” “smell” and even “remember” in order to survive. But “think?” While he believes and his science proves plants are amazingly complex, Chamovitz doesn’t believe they think. His research and book What a Plant Knows started with his interest in “the parallels between plant and human senses.”

He was initially drawn to the question of how plants sense light to regulate their development. It turns out there are a unique group of genes necessary for a plant to determine if it’s in the light or in the dark. It also turns out we have this same group of genes in our DNA, which are important ”for the timing of cell division, the axonal growth of neurons, and the proper functioning of the immune system.” And they also are important for humans to regulate response to light. This discovery led Dr. Chamovitz “to realize that the genetic difference between plants and animals is not as significant as [he] had once naively believed...[he] began to question the parallels between plant and human biology.”

Read the article to learn more about the complex sensing world of plants. It may give you an even greater appreciation for the ornamental and edible plants in your garden.

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