The Worm Turns on Plants
“Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God is my defense, and the God of my mercy.”
Regular listeners to Creation Moments are familiar with the many examples we have described of plants protecting themselves from insects.
A wide variety of plants make self-defense insect poisons by first producing the chemical jasmonate. Consideration was being given by the insecticide industry to stimulate plant defenses by spraying crops with this naturally occurring chemical. However, research now shows that this might not be a good idea. A worm – known variously as the corn earworm, the cotton bollworm or the tomato fruit worm – infests more than 100 plant species. This worm has two amazing abilities that probably explain why it’s such a pest. First, it can sense when a plant begins to produce jasmonate, the first step in production of its self-defense poisons. When the worm senses jasmonate, it produces enzymes that will detoxify those plant’s poisons. Studies have shown that spraying crops with jasmonate will only tip off the worm’s detoxification abilities and make it more resistant to the plant’s self-defense poisons. It appears that the plants rely on surprise to discourage the worms.
Of course, neither the plants nor the worms know anything about chemistry. It is the Creator of heaven and earth Who has given both the worm and the plants their defense mechanisms and, through His Son, Jesus Christ, has offered mankind protection from sin, death and the devil.
Notes: Science News, 10/19/02, p. 246, S. Milius, “Spying on Plant Defenses.”
Photo: Courtesy of Eric Sylvestre. Licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2.
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