Seeing without eyes – how plants learn from light: an article for post-16 Students


One of a series of three articles written specifically for post-16 biology students, this resource introduces students to some of the complexities of how plants detect and react to light. The resource can be used either as a homework for the whole class, or to challenge individual students to think more deeply about some of the material they have learnt so far.

Plants detect the intensity, direction, colour, and duration of light and use this information to regulate their growth and metabolism. For example, light helps to control germination; the direction of shoot and root growth; the angle and number of branches on the shoot; and the periods of growth, flowering and dormancy. Underlying these responses, biologists have found that light influences the activity of thousands of plant genes. Now researchers are uncovering precise chains of events that connect light to gene expression.

This article for post-16 students is written by science writer and New Scientist journalist Stephen Day.

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