Navigation Links
Sex involved in plant defense
Date:7/13/2009

Why do some plants defend themselves from insect attacks better than others? New evidence shows that the difference might be due to whether they're getting any plant love.

In research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists from North Carolina State University and Duke University discovered that sexually produced evening primrose plants withstand attacks from plant-eaters like caterpillars better than plant relatives that reproduce by themselves.

The findings are important steps to learning more about how plants have evolved defenses against insect herbivores, says Dr. Marc Johnson, assistant professor of plant biology at NC State and the lead author of the research paper.

"The variation in sexual reproduction has a large impact on the ability of plants to evolve defenses against herbivores," Johnson says.

In the study, the researchers performed both lab and field experiments on evening primrose (Onagraceae) plants, a plant family that has 259 different species 85 percent of which reproduce sexually with the remainder reproducing asexually to gauge the effects of plant sex on defense mechanisms. The researchers found that so-called generalist herbivores those that eat a variety of plants preferred to feed on the asexual species and lived longer while doing so.

The results were a bit different for so-called "specialist" plant-eaters, however. Those insects that prefer just one kind of food were more apt to munch on sexually reproduced species of plant. This most likely occurs, Johnson says, because specialized plant-eaters evolve alongside their hosts and have found ways to co-opt plant defenses. Instead of being deterred by certain chemical compounds produced as defenses by the plant, the specialized plant-eaters are attracted to them.

Johnson says the nuanced results make sense.

"Sex shuffles up genes and allows individual plants to get rid of bad genes and keep good ones," he said. "That helps them evolve defenses against generalist herbivores. Though there are short-term benefits to asexual reproduction populations can grow more rapidly and propagate even when pollination is not possible losing sex puts plants at a long-term disadvantage.

"In the end, asexual reproduction appears to be an evolutionary dead-end."


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Marc Johnson
marc_johnson@ncsu.edu
919-515-0478
North Carolina State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Dual role in breast tissue for a protein involved in leukemia
2. Enzyme involved in inflammatory bowel disease discovered at Penn State College of Medicine
3. Iron is involved in prion disease-associated neuronal demise
4. U-M researchers ID gene involved in pancreatic cancer
5. Researchers uncover obesity gene involved in weight gain response to high-fat diet
6. UT Southwestern researchers disrupt biochemical system involved in cancer, degenerative disease
7. Ancient African exodus mostly involved men, geneticists find
8. More findings on gene involved in childhood asthma
9. Columbia geneticists uncover new gene involved in determining hair texture and density in humans
10. Family ties that bind: Maternal grandparents are more involved in the lives of their grandchildren
11. Nationwide Childrens Hospital involved in expanded access program for treatment of PKU
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/9/2016)... DUBAI , UAE, May 9, 2016 ... choice when it comes to expanding freedom for high ... Even in today,s globally connected world, there ... online conferencing system could ever duplicate sealing your deal ... are obtaining second passports by taking advantage of citizenship ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... April 28, 2016 First quarter 2016:   ... 966% compared with the first quarter of 2015 The ... 589.1 M (loss: 18.8) and the operating margin was 40% (-13) ... Cash flow from operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) ... guidance is unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. The operating margin ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... 20, 2016 The new GEZE ... compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution for all door components. ... or the door interface with integration authorization management system, ... systems. The minimal dimensions of the access control and ... building installations offer considerable freedom of design with regard ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2016)... La Jolla, CA (PRWEB) , ... May 24, 2016 , ... ... and financial planning for corporate executives and entrepreneurs, held The Future of San Diego ... leaders in the San Diego life science community attended the event with speakers Dr. ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... , May 23, 2016 Zimmer Biomet Holdings, ... healthcare, today announced that its Board of Directors has approved ... the second quarter of 2016. The cash ... about July 29, 2016 to stockholders of record as of ... of dividends are subject to approval of the Board of ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... May 23, 2016 , ... Foresight Institute , ... the winners for the 2015 Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes. , These prestigious ... categories, one for experiment and the other for theory in nanotechnology. Prof. Markus ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... ... , ... Korean researchers say Manumycin A triggers apoptosis, or natural cell death, ... the disease. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted an article on the new study. ... their mesothelioma study on the fact the Manumycin A, a derivative of Streptomyces parvulus, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: