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In a new study, scientists have found a cabbage relative capable of remembering and responding to information. Plants are able to remember information and react to it, thanks to an internal communications system that can be likened to a central nervous system in animals, according to a new study by a Polish plant biologist.

Plants "remember" information about light, and a certain type of cell transmits that information, much like nerves do in animals.

In the study, which was published in the early online version of the journal Plant Cells July 16, the researchers found that light shone on one leaf of an Arabidopsis thaliana plant caused the whole plant to respond. The response lasted even after the light source was taken away, suggesting the plant remembered the light input. 

"The signaling continues after the light is off; it is building short-term memory," said the lead author, Stanislaw Karpinski, in an e-mail message. "The leaves are able to physiologically 'memorize' different excess light episodes and use this stored information, for example, for improving their acclimation and immune defenses."

In the video below Stefano Mancuso talks about the roots of plant's intelligence at the July 2010 TED Lecture in Oxford, England.

Below is another video on plant intelligence from the BBC.


Written by Grounded Garden — March 10, 2012

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