Thursday, August 30, 2007

Soothes the Savage Yeast?

Maybe this explains the Pastoral Symphony:

South Korean scientists, who played classical pieces including Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata in rice fields, say they have identified plant genes that can "hear".

Plants are known to respond to light, wind, and soil nutrients. Some gardeners believe flowers can be revitalised by music.

The researchers, whose work is highlighted in this week's New Scientist, say their discovery could in future enable farmers to switch specific plant genes on and off - potentially making crops flower at certain times or grow more quickly.

....The researchers speculated that the production of chemicals that lead to the genetic changes they observed could be harnessed to activate other specific genes that could trigger the flowering of crops.

Other scientists were more sceptical. Martin Parry, of the Institute for Arable Crops Research-Rothamsted in Harpenden, said factors such as wind might drown out the effects of the sound.

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