Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Plant Memories


Whitehead Institute scientists have determined that a plant protein involved in the timing of flowering could in fact be a prion which is an infectious agent thought to be the cause of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies . This is the first time that a possible prion has been identified in plants, and it may play a role in a plant's 'memory' of cold exposure during winter. Viewed above, Whitehead Institute scientists inserted the Arabidopsis thaliana protein Luminidependens (LD) into yeast to determine whether it has the traits of a prion. Prion variation can occur in genetically identical yeast cells which will lead to the better understanding of this amazing theory.

This study could help us to explain the different habits and traits of plant blooming and maturation. With this knowledge, we could better understand and manipulate their "memories" in order to create plants that can bloom all year round with environments permitting. We could create plants that adapt to greenhouse life and therefore lead crops to year round harvest. No more waiting 6 months for corn to be in season again or waiting for summer to get the good prices on strawberries and blueberries. Were talking year round harvest. Hopefully these scientists at the Whitehead Institute can lead to some breakthrough evidence of these prions and can manipulate it to do some good.

1 comment:

  1. Plant memory is incredible and to think they're controllable by a prion is amazing. Usually I think of plant memory primarily in terms of plant "forgetfulness," but not thinking of plant memory as being passed on via an 'infectious' agent, it makes some sense. We could even use the absence of the prion in some cases, probably.