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  1. Plant Behaviour and Intelligence - Oxford Scholarship
  2. Plants are !ӣ$%%!^$ӣ [fill in the missing word]*
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  4. Plant Behaviour and Intelligence
  5. Anthony Trewavas

Moreover, because an offspring ramet can encounter different environments than those experienced by the maternal ramet, the epigenetic information that will ultimately be conveyed by the offspring ramet to the generation subsequent to it i. Indeed, from studies on Arabidopsis thaliana , we know that a single genotype can have more than distinct stable epigenetic states Johannes et al. Thus, in a genet consisting of tens or hundreds of interconnected ramets, each ramet is likely to have a different epigenetic state depending not only upon the environmental conditions experienced by itself and its progenitors but also upon the interactions between these conditions and the phenotypes in each of these generations.

Plant Behaviour and Intelligence - Oxford Scholarship

Although we are primarily concerned with the relative capacity for intelligent behavior of a connected genet vs an array of non-clonal, yet comparable individuals, the ability for constituent ramets to process information and act somewhat autonomously does raise the question with possible evolutionary implications of whether a genet would have an intelligence advantage over a single plant of similar size to the entire genet.

One possible product of epigenetically mediated intelligence in clonal plants is pre-programming of offspring ramet phenotypes for particular types of growth based on the previous interactions of the genet with the environment. This can significantly increase overall success of the genet, particularly in cases when environmental conditions are predictable.

In the case of simple phenotypic plasticity, the newly emerging offspring ramet would respond to the ambient water level and adjust its growth accordingly. Thus, in the scenario in which rainfall temporarily moistens soil of an otherwise dry environment, a newly emerging ramet would adjust its phenotype to wet conditions and grow shallow roots and large leaves, which could easily become inefficient or even costly for the genet when this moisture disappears.

Plant Intelligence 'IF' plants are sentient?

However, knowledge previously acquired by the genet could theoretically modify the plastic response of such a new ramet to better take account of long-term environmental conditions. Such intergenerational phenotypic adjustments are well-documented for sexual generations Galloway and Etterson, ; Sultan et al. Of course, it is possible that constraints imposed on plastic responses to contemporaneous conditions could be detrimental if they reflect conditions that are no longer at all relevant. Nevertheless, we suggest that, the ongoing communication among ramets from differing periods may allow, via swarm intelligence, the genet to evaluate the suitability of differing responses and then, translate this, through signaling and resource allocation, into decisions to favorable outcomes for constituent ramets.

Evolutionarily, such intelligent behavior may actually enable maintenance of high phenotypic plasticity of clonal species because educated control of offspring ramet phenotypes by reducing risks associated with high phenotypic plasticity, as described above. Indirect support for this idea may have been provided by Louapre et al. Additionally, the placement of new P. Thus, for this species, their model system demonstrated that not only the average amount of resources obtained by older ramets, but also the variability of resources among ramets can alter the growing strategy of a whole genet Louapre et al.

Although they considered only plant hormones or resource molecules as potential messengers in their system, epigenetic variation could also underlie the behavior of the clones in their study. Variation among epigenetic memories of interconnected ramets can also modify the information values of signals that are sent within the genet. Because epigenetic variation alters plant responses to hormones and other messengers Latzel et al. It is also plausible that epigenetically distinct ramets can differently modulate the intensity of signals that they are sending.

Thus, the interaction of interconnected ramets can form the basis for a unique system in which the information spread is evaluated and modulated on the basis of epigenetic memory. For all of the abovementioned reasons, we suggest that epigenetic memory within connected genets can enable information storage and evaluation such that it can provide the basis for variability in decision-making that would overcome objections e.

Moreover, such variability could enable genetically and even developmentally identical genets to react differently to environmental stimuli such as attack by insect or microbial infection. Although we do not propose a test to quantify the overall intelligence of clonal plants, i. Thus, conceptually, to test whether epigenetically conveyed information from the past is useful to the plants in making better decisions i.

To specifically examine the role of epigenetic modification in furnishing such memory for decision-making by clonal plants, perhaps the most straightforward way to make this comparison would be to use a demethylating agent that would disrupt already-acquired epigenetic modification. Using this approach, equivalent genets would be exposed to the same sequence of temporally varied environmental conditions, but for one set, their epigenetic memory would be disrupted continuously via DNA demethylation using a demethylating agent such as 5-azacytidine or zebularine.

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Demethylation has been successfully applied in studies testing the role of epigenetic variation in phenotypic plasticity or adaptation to changed environments e. These studies germinated seeds in a 5-azacytidine solution, an approach inapplicable to mature clonal plants. However, we have developed a new approach in which mature clonal plants are sprayed repeatedly with an aqueous solution containing 5-azacytidine and surfactant for months. Azacytidine is absorbed by leaves similarly to nutrients from a foliar fertilizer. Because of the constant exposure of growing plants to the demethylating agent, the newly created offspring ramets have modified methylation patterns.

Although this method may have side effects that can create unknown artifacts, such an approach can serve at least as a proof-of-principle, and if the side effects are negligible or can be accounted for, it can yield useful observations. A more sophisticated and complicated approach would be to grow genetically identical, developmentally equivalent genets, and subject them to innocuous variation in environmental conditions that could serve as a signal for subsequent, more consequential environmental changes i.

By providing such genets with various environmental signals and consequences e. The latter approach can be combined with experimental demethylation to determine the mechanistic role of epigenetic modification. Additionally, to examine the extent to which information is shared and has impacts across a genet, individual ramets can be treated differently e. Finally, the extent to which epigenetic variation within a genet contributes to variation among ramets in responses to an environmental stimulus can be assessed by demethylation, which by eliminating some of the epigenetic variation could convert a pattern of highly individualistic responses to one of more uniform responses.

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Importantly, all the suggested approaches should try to compare behavior of genets consisting of different number of ramets to test the prediction that intelligent behavior increases with increasing complexity of clonal plants. Additionally, because we propose that intelligence in clonal plants would arise from multiple factors including intergenerational transmission of epigenetic modification and ongoing, enhanced communication through physically connections among ramets with experiences from different times and places, we suggest that research also explicitly examine the role of such communication.

Thus, perhaps, comparison can be made between intact clonal networks and networks with connections severed after the network has already been subjected to varying environments. Or, less intrusively, similar comparisons could be done between networks and equivalent numbers of single ramets of the same species. Additionally, to directly address the question of clonal vs. Although all of these comparisons would have to overcome challenges, we believe that it is worthwhile to at least suggest such possible avenues of future research.

Trewavas suggested that intelligence must be understood in terms of the interaction of the individual with the environment, with the environment posing the problems that intelligence is needed to solve. As examples from the literature show, plants are able to draw lessons from their interactions with the environment and can respond in ways that cannot be characterized as simple physiological or developmental consequences. Moreover, we suggest that clonal networks, especially in conjunction with epigenetic modification, can facilitate intelligent behavior, with epigenetics enabling long-term information storage in response to the environment and the latter permitting not only unaltered transmission of this information to subsequent generations, but also integration of information across multiple units experiencing different conditions.

The posited facilitation of intelligent behavior, if actually present, might at least in part explain the success of clonal species, by enabling them to have more flexible, accurate and efficient responses to varied environments than do non-clonal species. In particular, their intelligence could depend on life-history characteristics such as clonal growth type e. Because the research that our group can conduct is finite and the questions, especially regarding potential advantages that enhanced intelligence could provide to clonal vs.

All authors listed, have made substantial, direct and intellectual contribution to the work, and approved it for publication. This study was supported financially by the Czech Science Foundation grant No. GAS and by institutional long-term research development project No.

Plants are !ӣ$%%!^$ӣ [fill in the missing word]*

RVO The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. Addicott, F. Berkeley, CA: University of California press. Google Scholar. Alpert, P. Alvarez, M. Epigenetic control of plant immunity. Plant Pathol. Bell, A. Dirzo and J.

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Bilichak, A. The progeny of Arabidopsis thaliana plants exposed to salt exhibit changes in DNA Methylation, histone modifications and gene expression. Bird, A. Perceptions of epigenetics. Nature , — Bonabeau, E. Boyko, A. Transgenerational adaptation of Arabidopsis to stress requires DNA Methylation and the function of dicer-like proteins.

Bruce, T.

Hypothesis and Theory ARTICLE

Plant Sci. Chaves, M. Understanding plant responses to drought—from genes to the whole plant.

Plant Behaviour and Intelligence

Plant Biol. Chinnusamy, V. Epigenetic regulation of stress responses in plants. Cortijo, S. Mapping the epigenetic basis of complex traits. In your cart, save the other item s for later in order to get NextDay delivery. We moved your item s to Saved for Later.

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Add to Cart. This book provides a convincing argument for the view that whole cells and whole plants growing in competitive wild conditions show aspects of plant behaviour that can be accurately described as 'intelligent'. About This Item We aim to show you accurate product information. Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Authors Affiliations are at time of print publication. Print Save Cite Email Share. Show Summary Details. Subscriber Login Email Address. Library Card. View: no detail some detail full detail. Chapter 1 A feeling for the organism. Chapter 2 Plant behaviour foundations. Chapter 3 The origins of photosynthesis: what are the salient characteristics of living systems? Chapter 4 The origins of photosynthesis: the evolution of life and photosynthesis. Chapter 5 Why did plants become multicellular? Chapter 6 Convergent evolution is common in plant systems.

Anthony Trewavas

Chapter 7 Are angiosperms more complex than mammals? Chapter 8 Plant behaviour: first intimations of self-organization. Chapter 9 The varieties of plant behaviour. Chapter 10 The self-organizing plant: lessons from swarm intelligence.