Special Reviews

Volatile Signaling in Plant-Plant Interactions: "Talking Trees" in the Genomics Era

Science  10 Feb 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5762, pp. 812-815
DOI: 10.1126/science.1118446

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Abstract

Plants may “eavesdrop” on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released by herbivore-attacked neighbors to activate defenses before being attacked themselves. Transcriptome and signal cascade analyses of VOC-exposed plants suggest that plants eavesdrop to prime direct and indirect defenses and to hone competitive abilities. Advances in research on VOC biosynthesis and perception have facilitated the production of plants that are genetically “deaf” to particular VOCs or “mute” in elements of their volatile vocabulary. Such plants, together with advances in VOC analytical instrumentation, will allow researchers to determine whether fluency enhances the fitness of plants in natural communities.

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