Can Plants Feel Your Touch?
Scientists in Australia have confirmed that plants can feel your touch.
Olivier Van Aken, professor at University of Western Australia, explains, “Although people generally assume plants don’t feel when they are being touched, our study shows that they are actually sensitive to it.”
Plants won’t complain if people pinch or step on them, but they will sense it and respond back quickly.
Another La Trobe University-led research study supported the discovery. It stated that touch can even halt the growth of a plant. Professor Jim Whelan, director at The University, said that the slightest touch from humans would lead to the plant activating a genetic defense mechanism, which, if continuous, can cause perennial slow-down in their growth.
These findings, published in “The Plant Journal,” have shown that within 30 minutes of a human's touch, up to 10% of the plant’s genome gets altered.
The name of this phenomenon is called “Thigmomorphogenesis.”
The best example is Mimosa pudica (also known as "the sensitive plant"). As a matter of fact, its fan-shaped leaves will emerge instantly when it's touched.
The Australian scientists were also discovering two plant-proteins that can alter the behavior by switching off the plant's response.
However, the genetic alteration can happen only within a controlled environment and cannot happen overnight.
People just have to be more careful in the way they treat plants.
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