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Why Plants Usually Live Longer Then Animals

Update Date: Oct 27, 2013 08:33 PM EDT

It is a known fact that stem cells are crucial for the continuous regeneration of cells. A new step in the complex regulation of stem cells has been discovered by plant researchers at VIB and Ghent University.

“Our data suggest that certain organizing stem cells in plant roots are less sensitive for DNA-damage. Those cells hold an original and intact DNA copy which can be used to replace damaged cells if necessary. Animals rely on a similar mechanism but most likely plants have employed this in a more optimized manner. This could explain why many plants can live for more than hundreds of years, while this is quite exceptional for animals” said Lieven De Veylder in a press release.

The growth and development of plants are dependent of the continuous generation of new cells. The main driving part is a small group of specialized cells that are present in the growth axes of that plant called stem cells. These cells divide at a very high frequency and also carry the unique characteristics. The original mother stem-cell keeps the stem cell activity while some difference takes place in the daughter cell and it acquires another specialization.

Other than stem cells, the roots of the plants too keep the organizing cells.

The actions of the stem cells and their controlling organizing cells have remain one of the most interesting topics of interest among the scientists for almost 20 years. Till now everyone was unaware that how quiescent and actively dividing cells could co-exist so closely. Also the mechanisms that were considered as the basis of the quiescent character were unknown to scientists.

This particular research has identified the completely new molecular network that increases our understanding of stem cell regulation and activity.

The findings of the research are published online in Science Express.

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