New Research Suggests Plants Have “Internal Clock” Like Humans

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Have you ever gotten so used to your daily schedule that you didn’t need an alarm to wake you up? If so, then you’re feeling your body’s circadian rhythms. These important rhythms are the way the body accommodates a sleep schedule, urging you to go to bed at the right time and get enough sleep to be well-rested.

Recent research suggests that circadian clock genes aren’t unique to animals, either. Scientists at the University of Cambridge in April 2021 published findings that indicate plants with circadian rhythms aligned to their environment are likely to be healthier and have a higher yield. This could be critical for farming, as a better understanding of the seasonal and daily cycles within the plants themselves could give farmers an edge in cultivating the healthiest crops.

Circadian Rhythms

Research indicates that some structures within plants are able to track the day and night cycle by using their photosensitive structures. In simple turns, plants can tell when the sun is out because they’ve already got structures that absorb sunlight. passage of time.

Cambridge Professor Alex Webb explained to Euronews that plants have the highest resistance to harmful insects during the time of day those pests are usually most active. “So just a simple light in the refrigerated lorry going on and off to mimic the day/ night cycle would use the plants’ internal clock to help improve storage and reduce waste,” Professor Webb told the reporters.

By activating the plants’ own biological mechanisms, farmers and horticulturalists could engineer healthier and happier plants.

Commercial Applications

Research has shown that these circadian genes in plants control a wide array of the organism’s biological functions. That includes how well they respond to being watered, how much photosynthesis occurs, and even when flowering will take place.

In short, a better understanding of when to water plants or when to apply pesticides could allow farmers to get more yield out of fewer resources. This is an all-win scenario because using less water is both good for farmers and good for the planet. Not to mention, greater crop yields are more important now than ever; there are more mouths to feed than at any other time in human history.

This breakthrough research could have wide-ranging benefits for agriculture. It could also help home gardeners make the most out of their plants by optimizing the right time to water or offering a non-chemical alternative to pest control.