Thale cress

Plant protein responds to radio waves by making seedlings grow faster

Thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) is often used for research

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A dose of radio waves seems to encourage plant seedlings to grow slightly faster, a find that, if confirmed, could have applications from farming to medicine.

Margaret Ahmad at Sorbonne University in Paris, France, and her colleagues exposed thale cress seedlings (Arabidopsis thaliana) to weak pulses of radio frequency (RF) radiation at 7 megahertz, a frequency normally used by amateur radio operators.

The team found that this altered the activity of a type of light sensor in the plants called a cryptochrome. The expression of several genes regulated by …