We think of memory as a distinct human ability but a new research shows that plants too can form memories of past events and can pass it to their offspring. Researchers have uncovered a special protein called prions that helps them store environmental memories and that’s how they remember flowering and other natural processes.
An Indian biologist has uncovered that plants also have memory cells. After three years of research and analysis of over 20,000 plants scientists came to the discovery of special proteins called prions that play the role of neurons to form their environmental memories.
What are prions?
Prions are a type of protein that fold under certain conditions and it can also trigger other proteins around them to fold as well. The damage caused by folding in plants can help form memories.
Though prions were first detected in early 80s to 90s but now for the first time it has been discovered in plants. Prions basically help plants to sustain long-term memories in animals.
Human brain cells store information by rearranging molecules in a special configuration. Similarly, prions present in plants can also change their shape in such a way to memorise things.
Several studies in the past have also shown that prions are capable of storing information for a long duration of time. Now the present study in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences explains the role of prions of plants. They also play a crucial role in flowering of plants.