Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fast growth, low defense -- plants facing a dilemma

Date:
January 28, 2011
Source:
University of Zurich
Summary:
Ecologists and plant biologists demonstrate that fast plant growth is achieved at the expense of natural defense mechanisms. The new findings are important for agricultural crops, as such crops usually have been bred for high yield which at the same time reduced their natural resistance to herbivores.

For their study, the researchers planted different "knockout"-mutants of the same genotype of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. They then harvested a subset of these plants in evenly distributed intervals to measure the biomass growth over the whole plant life
Credit: UZH

Plants are attacked by a multitude of insects and mammals. As defense against these herbivores they developed complex defense mechanisms over the course of evolution: spines, thorns, leaf hairs and a number of toxic chemical substances. For decades it has been controversially discussed whether the production of defense traits incurs costs to the plants.

Now, using a new method the ecologists and plant biologists of the University of Zόrich together with their American colleagues demonstrate these costs accurately in a Proceedings of the Royal Society article.

For their study, the researchers planted different "knockout"-mutants of the same genotype of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. They then harvested a subset of these plants in evenly distributed intervals to measure the biomass growth over the whole plant life. "Mutants with suppressed defense mechanisms showed an increased growth rate" Tobias Zόst explains the result of his study. But the faster growth comes at an added cost: aphids reproduce faster on these plants than on slow growing plants with intact defense mechanisms. This is a result of the fact that fast growing plants provide more resources to the herbivore than slow growing plants in the same amount of time.

The study shows that natural resistance is often not compatible with fast growth. This finding is of great importance for agricultural crops: These crops have been selected for high yield and as a consequence have very low natural resistance to herbivores, consequentially requiring high input of insecticides.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Zurich. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. T. Zust, B. Joseph, K. K. Shimizu, D. J. Kliebenstein, L. A. Turnbull. Using knockout mutants to reveal the growth costs of defensive traits. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2011; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2010.2475

Cite This Page:

University of Zurich. "Fast growth, low defense -- plants facing a dilemma." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110128104238.htm>.
University of Zurich. (2011, January 28). Fast growth, low defense -- plants facing a dilemma. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110128104238.htm
University of Zurich. "Fast growth, low defense -- plants facing a dilemma." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110128104238.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) — A federal judge temporarily banned coyote hunting to save endangered red wolves, but local hunters say that the wolf preservation program does more harm than good. Meanwhile federal officials are reviewing its wolf program in North Carolina. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) — New England farms are seeing a surge in younger farm hands as the 'buy local' food movement grows across the country. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — According to a new study, spiders that live in cities are bigger, fatter and multiply faster. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins