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Thread: Plants can recognize rivals and fight, study says

  1. #9
    War. War never changes. Est's Avatar
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    While allelopathy has been recognized and investigated for a couple of decades, as far as I know research like this is relatively new, or at least the subject is less well understood.

    Allelopathy is certainly interesting, but there's some special to be said about recognizing not only self from non-self, but recognizing a degree of interrelatedness such that they interact with "strangers" and "relatives" in a different manner. It's not a "prevent other plants from growing" carpet-bombing thing, but a "no strangers allowed!" specific response. I look forward to reading the paper on the study to see if this summary is true to the observations.

    Only other examples of things remotely related to this nature are the induction of toxin production in neighbouring plants when one releases a signal as a response to grazing or insect attack.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Est View Post
    While allelopathy has been recognized and investigated for a couple of decades, as far as I know research like this is relatively new, or at least the subject is less well understood.

    Allelopathy is certainly interesting, but there's some special to be said about recognizing not only self from non-self, but recognizing a degree of interrelatedness such that they interact with "strangers" and "relatives" in a different manner. It's not a "prevent other plants from growing" carpet-bombing thing, but a "no strangers allowed!" specific response. I look forward to reading the paper on the study to see if this summary is true to the observations.

    Only other examples of things remotely related to this nature are the induction of toxin production in neighbouring plants when one releases a signal as a response to grazing or insect attack.
    At the outset, the study seems vaguely analogous to the "clone wars" that exist in some invertebrate (Cnidarian) populations -- where asexual anemones from one population can chemically recognize outsiders -- non-related clones -- and "actively" combat them for resources; in their case, the competition is, just as plants, also for space. Some are capable of physically forcing others off rock surfaces. It just seemed logical that that competitive principle might also apply to other sessile organisms -- plants included.

    It too am looking forward to reading the study in its entirety; but, in some respects, it still strikes me as old news. This idea, at least, has been circulating around since I was in college, and I am curious to see it confirmed . . .
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  3. #11
    War. War never changes. Est's Avatar
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    At the outset, the study seems vaguely analogous to the "clone wars" that exist in some invertebrate (Cnidarian) populations -- where asexual anemones from one population can chemically recognize outsiders -- non-related clones -- and "actively" combat them for resources; in their case, the competition is, just as plants, is also for space. Some are capable of physically forcing others off rock surfaces. It just seemed logical that that competitive principle might also apply to other sessile organisms -- plants included
    I certainly see the resemblance to the common Clone Wars example, but there's a twist here. That's the recognition of a degree of relatedness. I'm curious to see what sort of specificity the mechanism grants. How related is related enough? It's different from clone wars in that regard -- it isn't just a case of self vs nonself. And then there's the question of the workings of the mechanism itself... It stands to reason that such a response should exist, but elucidation of the mechanism would certainly be interesting.
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