In the framework of the European Cooperation in Science and Technology, researchers of the Centre for Agricultural Genomics and Biotechnology have studied the molecular background of plants’ memory. The findings have been published in Trends in Plant Science, the most prestigious journal in the field.

As part of an international team, the researchers of the Centre studied the memory of plants, which reveals a great deal about their special kind of intelligence.

- It was disputed for decades, but in the light of the most recent findings, the existence of plants’ special kind of intelligence has been proved. Plants are unable to move, and to escape from environmental effects. But in order to survive, they have to respond to the stress and information they are exposed to. Epigenetic memory enables them able to optimize their resources and develop their adaptation skills in a constantly changing environment, and to give adequate responses to environmental stimuli – explained Judit Dobránszki, science consultant, head of the Centre to

According to the research results, plants develop complex molecular networks that enable them to learn, communicate with each other and with their environment, make decisions and change their behaviour.

- All these functions require a kind of memory. As plants have no nervous system, their intelligence is based on the biochemical and molecular networks of memory mechanisms. Epigenetic mechanisms play a very important part because they make plants able to store, retrieve and delete information – explained professor Dobránszki.

She added that through epigenetic modifications, plants are able to transfer their “knowledge” to their offspring, which means that new plants can inherit memories.

The research findings of the international team have been published in the journal Trends in Plant Science. In the article, researchers analyse the epigenetic modifications that affect the short- and long-term memory of plants.

- In the study we described how plants collect information about their environment, and how they are able to use that information in order to respond to changes in their environment – said professor Dobránszki.

The article describes the role of plants’ memory in short-term adaptation to environmental changes and in their evolution, and explains how epigenetic mechanisms contribute to genetic inheritance, which helps plants to adapt to climate change.

Press Centre - ÉE