Forest Floor

Plant roots see the light, according to reports in ScienceDaily 3 November 2016, and Science Signalling, doi: 10.1126/scisignal.aaf6530, 1 November 2016.

Light is a source of energy for plants, and is also a stimulus for plants to grow and develop. In order to detect changes in the light environment plants have photoreceptors that detect light and send chemical signals that stimulate growth and development in the whole plant. The optical receptors are most sensitive to red and far red light and are found in both the shoots and the roots.

Having photoreceptors in roots, which are buried in soil where there isn’t any light, seems rather odd, so a group of biologists and physicists set out to see if light can be conveyed to the roots through the plant stems, and if it makes a difference to the growth of the plant.

The research team developed a highly sensitive light detector that could detect any light conveyed from the shoots to the roots. Chung-Mo Park, who led the research explained: “With this approach, we could show clearly and without ambiguity that light is transmitted into the roots via vascular bundles”. Vascular bundles are the internal pipes that carry water and dissolved minerals and nutrients through the plant.

The researchers also studied the effect of light on genetically modified Arabidopsis plants that did not have the photoreceptors in their roots, but still had them in their shoots. This meant the roots could receive chemical signals sent from the shoots, but not direct light stimulus, i.e. the roots were blind to light. The blind rooted plants did not develop roots as well as normal plants even though the above ground parts of the plant were illuminated and the roots could receive chemical signals sent from the shoots.

Ian Baldwin, another scientist on the team commented: “Our work proves that roots are able to perceive light, even though they are usually found below ground. Photoreception in the roots triggers a signalling chain which influences plant growth, especially the root architecture”.


Editorial Comment: And we thought we invented light pipes, otherwise known as fibre-optic cables. These are not the first living things to be found that use light pipes. We have some in the retina in our eyes, as do all vertebrates. They are also found in sponges that live on the bottom of the sea.

Furthermore, there is no point in having a fibre-optic system unless there is something at the other end that needs the light, such as the root photoreceptors, but the light receptors are useless without the light pipes to convey light to them.

These “what came first” questions, aka the Chicken and Egg Syndrome, are a chronic problem for evolutionists, because they just keep cropping up the more research we do into how living things work. However, they are no problem for the God who created the light on the first day, and made the plants as complete fully functioning organisms well designed to use the light, on the third day.

Evidence News vol. 16, No.22
24 November 2016
Creation Research Australia

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