Can plants be altruistic? You bet, study says
Original story at phys.org• 5 mentions • 10 months ago
phys.org 10 months ago
A new study led by CU-Boulder involving graduate student Chi-Chih Wu, shown here, indicates corn plants may have an altruistic side. Photo courtesy of CU-Boulder. Credit: University of Colorado We've all heard examples of animal altruism: Dogs caring for orphaned kittens, chimps sharing food or dolphins nudging injured mates to the surface. Now, a study led by the University of Colorado Boulder suggests some plants are altruistic too. 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."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."