Plant communication might be possible between parasitic plants and hosts

This is the hypothesis of plant physiologists after discovering the exchange of genetic RNA information between parasitic plants and their hosts. Researchers published an article in Science journal after discovering that parasitic plants tend to exchange genetic information with hosts as a way of communication while consuming the host.

A plant of particular interest here is the strangleweed, which is discovered to share a lot of genetic materials with the hosts they attack for consumption. Scientists are surprised to find a lot of similar genetic materials between strangleweed and its hosts, and they theorize a communication of sorts.

It is conjectured by plant scientists that dodder and strangleweed among other parasitic plants send friendly instructions to the plant they intend to attack, and this friendly message endears the hosts to them and weakens them against the eventual attacks of strangleweed.

According to one of the researchers from Virginia Tech, James Westwood, “it’s surprising for a number of reasons; the first being that if you think of a parasite as truly being a parasite, you wouldn’t expect to see movement of genetic material into the host – just the parasite sucking nutrients from the host.”

Plant physiologists are interested in the ability of parasitic plants to communicate messages with other plants they consume, against the backdrop that this could be used to engineer crops to resist and develop defenses against parasitic plants, instead of using herbicides to kill them.

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  • The sending of messages is abundant in the natural world,
    This parasitic plant’s method is similar to
    one of the ways which cancer weakens it’s host.
    The host, despite what they consciously think,
    is “messaged” that they do not want to eat food,
    they do stop eating food,
    hence a further weakening of the body,
    allowing the cancer the upper hand in it’s destruction of the host.
    Messages are also sent by anti bodies,
    these messages fool the invaders into thinking
    that they and the anti body are the same,
    the invader then joins with the anti body and is neutralized.