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Scientists Discover How Plants Talk To Each Other

Source: Yahoo Daily News

3rd August 2000

LONDON (Reuters) - The language may be different but plants, like humans, talk to each other and warn of impending danger, according to a study published Wednesday. New research by scientists at Kyoto University in Japan, published in the science journal Nature, describes how lima bean plants send out distress signals to protect themselves and warn their neighbors of an impending attack by spider mites. Instead of words and sentences, the lima bean plants emit chemicals to get their message across. ``These plants can prepare defenses against the spider mites in advance,'' Junji Takabayashi and his colleagues said in the Nature report. The chemicals make the plants less susceptible to the spider mites. They also attract the mites' natural predators to help the plants them fight them off. At the same time the chemicals can activate genes in neighboring plants to produce the same chemicals which act as an insect repellent. ``These findings on airborne information transferred among plants are important for understanding...interactions in ecosystems as well as for developing new methods for plant protection,'' the scientists added.

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