News and information for Plant & Crop Science community
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Plants have a memory of pests that spans generations
In the age of industrial agriculture, seeds are often purchased in bulk from corporate growers that use heavy doses of pesticides. They then travel many miles to a farm where climate, soil and pest conditions are dramatically different. As a result, crops often encounter new ailments that never impacted first generation seed plants, which may have been protected from the most troublesome invaders. This might not be the best approach, based on three studies published in the February issue of Plant Physiology. Not only does adversity in the parent generation appear to make the seed stronger, but it primes plants to fight the specific ailments that plagued their parents.