Matthew Cohen, MSW

Matthew Cohen, MSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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Can Plants Act Altruistically?

A good portion of human history has examined the emotional nature of animals and the moral responsibility that humans have when animals are concerned. In fact, often we find moral arguments against the consumption of animals based on belief that animals are sentient beings with experiences that are in some way similar to humans. Often over looked is the moral implications of eating plants; they are alive after all. That might change with a recent study from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The researchers looked at corn, in which each fertilized seed contained two “siblings”—an embryo and a corresponding bit of tissue known as endosperm that feeds the embryo as the seed grows.

The study found that a difference in the amount of “food” released by the endosperm was related to kinship between them.

“We found that endosperm that does not share the same father as the embryo does not hand over as much food—it appears to be acting less cooperatively.”

Humans base their altruism on the closeness of their relationships and now it seems that plants act in a similar fashion. The slippery moral slope of  based of sentience just got a little slicker. Better eat your salad with a clear conscious while you still can!

*Article suggested by @twigtops **

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