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Plants Perform Arithmetic?

Scientists have found that plants ration their starch overnight, gauging the amount they have in reserve and dividing it by the number of hours before the sun rises, permitting photosynthesis to resume.

Researchers at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, Norfolk, England studied Arabidopsis, a plant in the mustard family, changing light conditions to make night arrive abnormally early or late. The plants adapted to the changes by increasing or decreasing their rate of starch use.

Martin Howard, who worked on the study, calls it "the first concrete example in biology of such a sophisticated arithmetic calculation" being performed at such a fundamental level.

Read the Telegraph's coverage.

Id: 
1523
Start Date: 
Wednesday, July 10, 2013

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