Scientists studying a European shrub known as barberry have found that it’s able to abort its own seeds to avoid parasitic infection. The plants produce berries containing either one or two seeds, which are eaten by the larvae of the tephritid fruit fly. In a study published in this month’s issue of The American Naturalist, researchers note that if a berry contains two seeds, one of which has become infested, the plant will stop the development of the infested seed in order to kill off the larvae and save the healthy seed. However, if a berry contains only one seed and it has become infested, the plant will hardly ever abort it. The findings show that the plant is able to differentiate between inner and outer conditions of its berries, as well as anticipate future risks.
See more Signal/Noise.