Plant epigenetics — new ways to adapt and evolve

Rooted to the spot, plants cannot run away from problems. Instead, they adjust their growth and metabolism to cope. So, exposed to strong winds, plants grow shorter, broader stems and smaller leaves; or if temperatures approach freezing, many plants synthesise ‘antifreeze’ proteins.

Now, scientists studying epigenetics have found evidence that plants not only adapt themselves to local conditions, they may also be preparing future generations.

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