What do plants and humans have in common? Actually, more than most people realize.
Plants possess a number of amazing properties and they can "behave" similar to us.
Plants are very much alive. Not only do they dislike human noise but they also posses the capacity to learn and communicate.
Perhaps even more astonishing is that plants can also
make music and they can sing.
In recent years, scientists have uncovered surprising biological connections between humans and other forms of life.
Researchers have revealed that plant and human biology is much closer than has ever been understood and the study of these similarities could uncover the
biological basis of diseases like cancer as well as other "animal" behaviors.
Now, according to a recent study plants can also be altruistic!
The researchers looked at corn, in which each fertilized seed contained two "siblings" -- an embryo and a corresponding bit of tissue known as endosperm that
feeds the embryo as the seed grows, said CU-Boulder Professor Pamela Diggle. They compared the growth and behavior of the embryos and endosperm in seeds sharing the same mother and father with the growth and behavior of embryos and endosperm that had genetically different parents.
Plants and humans can behave in a similar way!
"The results indicated embryos with the same mother and father as the endosperm in their seed weighed significantly more than embryos with the same mother but
a different father," said Diggle, a faculty member in CU-Boulder's ecology and evolutionary biology department. "We found that endosperm that does not share the
same father as the embryo does not hand over as much food -- it appears to be acting less cooperatively."
"One of the most fundamental laws of nature is that if you are going to be an altruist, give it up to your closest relatives," said Friedman.
"Altruism only evolves if the benefactor is a close relative of the beneficiary. When the endosperm gives all of its food to the embryo and then dies, it doesn't
get more altruistic than that."
In corn reproduction, male flowers at the top of the plants distribute pollen grains two at a time through individual tubes to tiny cobs on the stalks covered
by strands known as silks in a process known as double fertilization. When the two pollen grains come in contact with an individual silk, they produce a seed
containing an embryo and endosperm. Each embryo results in just a single kernel of corn, said Diggle.
Studies show plants can be altruisti.
The team took advantage of an extremely rare phenomenon in plants called "hetero-fertilization," in which two different fathers sire individual corn kernels,
said Diggle, currently a visiting professor at Harvard. The manipulation of corn plant genes that has been going on for millennia -- resulting in the production
of multicolored "Indian corn" cobs of various colors like red, purple, blue and yellow -- helped the researchers in assessing the parentage of the kernels, she said.
Wu, who cultivated the corn and harvested more than 100 ears over a three-year period, removed, mapped and weighed every individual kernel out of each cob
from the harvests. While the majority of kernels had an endosperm and embryo of the same color -- an indication they shared the same mother and father --
some had different colors for each, such as a purple outer kernel with yellow embryo.
Wu was searching for such rare kernels -- far less than one in 100 -- that had two different fathers as a way to assess cooperation between the embryo and endosperm.
"It was very challenging and time-consuming research," said Friedman. "It was like looking for a needle in a haystack, or in this case, a kernel in a silo."
Endosperm -- in the form of corn, rice, wheat and other crops -- is critical to humans, providing about 70 percent of calories we consume annually worldwide.
"The tissue in the seeds of flowering plants is what feeds the world," said Friedman, who also directs the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard.
"If flowering plants weren't here, humans wouldn't be here."
Amazing Alien Landscape On Earth - Dallol Volcano
If you want to experience an alien landscape it is not necessary to travel to another planet.
In fact, there are places on Earth where the landscape is truly bizarre, almost extraterrestrial many would say.
Looking at this amazing scenery, one can easily ask - Are we still on Earth?
Dangerous Fast and Furious - Birth Of Africa's New Ocean
The only places where mid-ocean ridges appear above sea level are Ethiopia and Iceland.
Two new studies into the so-called “plumbing systems” that lie under volcanoes could bring scientists closer to predicting
large eruptions and reveal new information about where magma is stored and how it moves through the geological plumbing network.
Extreme Life In Tough Environment Of Hot Earth Without Oxygen
Once upon a time, Earth was still a hot, violent place at this time, with volcanic activity dominating the early Earth. The sky was cloudy and grey,
keeping the heat in despite the sun being weaker than today.
The water temperature of the oceans was much higher at 40-50 degrees (the temperature of a hot bath) and circulating currents were very strong.
Antarctica's Mysterious Lake Untersee And Its Otherworldly Ecosystem
A research team has now returned to Lake Untersee to begin the first real studies of this incredible environment.
This new high-quality image details the conical stromatolites that have formed on top of a boulder at a depth of about 20 meters, other
cones can be seen populating the sloping bottom...
Lost Civilization Beneath The Indian Ocean
Archaeologists believe there are ruins of an ancient lost civilization beneath the waters of the Indian Ocean.
Evidence suggest humans lived in the area in and around the Persian Gulf Oasis for over 100,000 years before the region was
swallowed up by the Indian Ocean about 8,000 years ago.
Solar Tornadoes As Wide As Five Earths Discovered
Solar tornadoes several times as wide as the Earth can be generated in the solar atmosphere, say researchers in the UK.
"This is perhaps the first time that such a huge solar tornado is filmed by an imager. Previously much smaller solar
tornadoes were found my SOHO satellite. But they were not filmed," says Dr. Xing Li, of Aberystwyth University.
Living Earth Simulator - Supercomputer Predicting The Future
In Douglas Adams book the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy we encounter a machine called Deep Thought. It is the most powerful computer ever built. Deep Thought is capable of answering questions
concerning life, the Universe, and simply everything. Now scientists are planning to create a similar machine. It is called the Living Earth Simulator (LES).
New Evidence Links Earth's Extreme Weather To Human-Caused Global Warming
The past decade has been one of unprecedented weather extremes. Scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany argue that the high incidence of extremes is not merely accidental.
From the many single events a pattern emerges. At least for extreme rainfall and heat waves the link with human-caused global warming is clear...
Amazing Giant Underground City Created By Ants Discovered
It took scientists weeks to uncover the secret megapolis created by these super-organisms.
Ants have inhabited our planet for millions of years, and yet no living creature seems more alien to us, but now we are slowly beginning to understand their complex nature.
These incredible images, reveal something that at first look appears to have been constructed by an architect.