NOTE: This article is only available to subscribers. Subscribe now to gain access to all articles, read exclusive interviews with top scientists from around the world, and browse the site ad free. The first month is free.

Plants are altruistic, sharing more food with the closest relatives

February 01, 2013

Plants are altruistic, sharing more food with the closest relatives

Plants are altruistic, say researchers.

There are plenty of examples of altruism in animals. For example, there’s Samantha, the Erie Zoo gorilla who shares her space and occasionally her food with Panda, a Dutch rabbit. There’s also Sydney, a beagle/terrier mix who cares for five kittens that were rescued from a construction site. Now, Researchers from the University of Colorado-Boulder have found evidence that suggests some plants are altruistic too.

UC-Boulder researchers examined corn, in which each fertilized seed contained an embryo and a matching piece of tissue known as endosperm that nourishes the embryo as the seed grows. They compared the growth and behavior of the embryos and endosperm in seeds with the same mother and father with the growth and behavior of embryos and endosperm that had genetically different parents, according to CU-Boulder Professor Pamela Diggle.

Comments should take into account that readers may hold different opinions. With that in mind, please make sure comments are respectful, insightful, and remain focused on the article topic. In addition, readers can send us tips, press releases, or ideas for stories: