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New research shows plants talking

Stashed in: Science!, Plants!, Science Too, Botany

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Do Canadian plants say "sorry" to the insects they blast with unpleasant chemicals?

No doubt!

I wonder what American plants say. 

Cool implications:

One example is researchers working with crop species to try to get them to emit the signal to attract the predators that are eating the plants. That way, rather than using more pesticides, “it could be a natural way to decrease the insect outbreaks because of the increase of good insect on those crops,” says Cahill. Other research could look at how plant signals might be used to help to decrease weeds in the field.

Overall this kind of research looks at modifying the behaviours of the plants in order to “increase yield or gain,” and that’s very possibly good news for the farm system, especially as resistance to herbicides increases, says Cahill.

It’s important that farmers have a variety of choices so that every farmer can choose what would work best to manage weeds and pests in their own fields. “It’s an exciting time in plant research and it will mean change for agriculture in a positive way.”

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