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Plants adapt to climate change by using epigenetic memory: research | News

Nov 21, 2022, 4:17 PM ISTSource: ANI

While it is well known that animals can adapt quickly to adverse environmental conditions, growing evidence suggests that plants can do the same. A paper published in the journal Trends in Plant Science describes how plants quickly adapt to the negative effects of climate change and how these adaptations are passed on to their descendants. Plants are dealing with environmental stressors more than ever. For example, climate change is causing winters to become shorter and less severe in many places, and plants are responding to this. “Many plants need a minimum cold period to set their environmental clock to determine their flowering time,” says Martinelli. Since plants do not have neural networks, their memory is based entirely on cellular, molecular and biochemical networks. These networks form what the researchers call somatic memory. “These mechanisms allow plants to recognize the occurrence of a previous environmental condition and respond more quickly in the presence of the same consequential condition,” says Martinelli. These somatic memories can then be passed on to the plant’s progeny via epigenetics.

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