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Why Plants Panic When it Rains

When a raindrop splashes across a leaf, tiny droplets of water ricochet in all directions

written by: Phys | 17-06-2020

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An international team of scientists involving The University of Western Australia’s School of Molecular Sciences, the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology and Lund University has made the surprising discovery that a plant’s reaction to rain is close to one of panic. The research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, revealed complex  are triggered when  lands on a plant to help it prepare for the dangers of rain. UWA Professor Harvey Millar said after spraying plants with water and observing the effect, the researchers noticed a  in the plant caused by a protein called Myc2.

 

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“When Myc2 is activated, thousands of genes spring into action preparing the plant’s defences,” Professor Millar said. “These warning signals travel from leaf to leaf and induce a range of protective effects. As to why plants would need to panic when it rains, strange as it sounds, rain is actually the leading cause of disease spreading between plants.”

 

why plants panic rain article leaf on thursd

 

“When a raindrop splashes across a leaf, tiny droplets of water ricochet in all directions. These droplets can contain bacteria, viruses, or fungal spores. A single droplet can spread these up to 10 metres to surrounding plants.”

 

why plants panic rain article raindrops on thursd

 

Evidence also suggests that when it rains, the same signals spreading across leaves are transmitted to nearby plants through the air.


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