HONOURABLE MENTION

Brainless Yet Genius

My research question is: How do the Mimosa Pudica and the Venus flytrap perform nearly all the operations that a human brain can, without one? In my project I will answer this question and share knowledge about this topic.
Suhandan Thangadurai
Grade 5

Problem

Scientists are not sure what the relations are between the human brain and plants. This research project is about understanding how the human brain and plants, specifically the Mimosa Pudica and the Venus  flytrap, can perform more operations than other plants. It has been researched how the Mimosa Pudica and the Venus flytrap have been able to fold their leaves, but no one is sure how these fascinating plants can perform nearly all the operations that a human brain can, without one. 

 

Method

I took data forom several different websites and I also took some informations fom a textbook (as shown in citations). Using these reliable sources I was able to create my research project. 

 

Research

 CYSF Research

Main question: How do the Mimosa Pudica and the Venus flytrap perform nearly all the operations that a human brain can, without one?

 

Since the Venus flytrap does not have any muscles how does the trap close?/The Venus fly trap has trigger hairs, but since it doesn’t have a nervous system how does it receive the message from the hairs to make the trap close?

 

  • Scientist are not sure exactly how it works
  • “Scientists theorize that it moves from some type of fluid pressure activated by an actual electric current that runs through each lobe.”               -Botany.org
  • There are trigger hairs(also known as mechanosensors) in the trap. When these hairs are moved continuously the trap closes.
  • There is not a nervous system in the Venus flytrap
  • It has been a mystery for decades, since the 19th century.

 

The Mimosa Pudica does not have any muscles, but how do the leaves close?

  • The leaves on the Mimosa Pudica fold because of the high amount of turgor pressure. Turgor pressure is the amount of water pressure that is pushing up against the cell wall. When the turgor pressure is high, the cell is rigid. When the water bursts out of the cell the turgor pressure is low and the cell becomes floppy. When water comes in and out of the cell it is called Osmosis.
  • It takes 0.15 seconds for humans to respond to stimluli
  • It takes 4-5 seconds for the Mimosa Pudica to respond to stimuuli
  • Also when touched, the potassium and other nutrients in the leaf leaves the cell.
  • It takes around ten minutes for the Mimosa Pudica to regain their turgor pressure and look normal


 

How do the Mimosa Pudica and the Venus flytrap perform nearly all the operations that a human brain can, without one?

 

  •  The Mimosa Pudica is basically controlled by the mechanoreceptors in the leaves. When you touch the leaves the mechanoreceptors make it fold, therefore this plant would not need a brain. When the plant leans towards the sun, again the cells control it because they have phytochromes (highly sensitive light-sensing proteins) in them that help them find the shortest route to light to help them grow. The Venus flytrap is also basically controled by the mechanosensors in the lobe, the mechansensors make the Venus flytrap able to close.

 

  • The Venus flytrap has been a mystery to scientists for many decades, they are not sure how the trap closes without any muscles, therefore it is still unknown to scientists how the Venus flytrap closes without any muscles or a brain.



 

Data

Action Potential of Mimosa Pudica closing:                                           Action Potential of Venus flytrap closing:

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, the reason why the Mimosa Pudica and the Venus fly trap can perform nearly all the operations that a human brain can, without one is because of its cells. These cells basically control the plant . Thus, meaning that plants have no use for brains because the cells control the whole plant. For example when photosynthesis occurs in the plant, the phytochromes bend toward the light. In the Venus flytrap people know that they have mechanosensors which make the trap close, but scientists are not entirely sure how the trap closes without any muscles, a brain, or a nervous system. 

 

Citations

References:

  1. Botany.org. n.d. The Mysterious Venus Flytrap. [online] Available at: <https://www.botany.org/bsa/misc/carn.html> [Accessed 6 January 2021].

 

  1. Team, A., 2017. Leaves Fold In Response To Touch : Herbe Sensible - Asknature. [online] AskNature. Available at: <https://asknature.org/strategy/leaves-fold-in-response-to-touch/#:~:text=Leaves%20of%20mimosa%20plant%20fold,leaf%20in%20a%20few%20minutes.&text=When%20the%20Mimosa%20pudica%2C%20commonly,themselves%20and%20its%20stems%20droop.&text=The%20leaves%20of%20the%20Mimosa,a%20change%20in%20turgor%20pressure.> [Accessed 6 January 2021].

 

  1. Encyclopedia Britannica. 2021. Sensitive Plant | Botany. [online] Available at: <https://www.britannica.com/plant/sensitive-plant> [Accessed 6 January 2021].

 

  1. Science ABC. 2020. Why Do Touch-Me-Not Leaves Go To Sleep The Moment You Touch Them?. [online] Available at: <https://www.scienceabc.com/nature/how-mimosa-pudica-plant-leaves-work-sleep-touch-shake-turgor-pressure.html> [Accessed 7 January 2021].

 

  1. Villazon, L., 2021. Why Do Mimosa Plants Close When Touched?. [online] BBC Science Focus Magazine. Available at: <https://www.sciencefocus.com/nature/why-do-mimosa-plants-close-when-touched/> [Accessed 7 January 2021].

 

  1. Backyardbrains.com. n.d. Sensitive Mimosa Pudica Electrophysiology. [online] Available at: <https://backyardbrains.com/experiments/Plants_SensitiveMimosaPudica> [Accessed 8 January 2021].

 

  1. Nature.com. n.d. Photosynthesis, Chloroplast | Learn Science At Scitable. [online] Available at: <https://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/photosynthetic-cells-14025371/#:~:text=During%20the%20process%20of%20photosynthesis,make%20sugar%20molecules%20and%20oxygen> [Accessed 8 January 2021].

 

  1.  ScienceDaily. 2013. How Do Plants Grow Toward The Light? Scientists Explain Mechanism Behind Phototropism. [online] Available at: <https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130528105946.htm> [Accessed 8 January 2021].

 

  1. CAMPBELL, N. (1993). Biology - Third Edition (3rd ed., pp. 768, 767). The Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Company, Inc.

 

  1. Phytochrome. (2021). Retrieved 10 January 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phytochrome#:~:text=Phytochromes%20are%20a%20class%20of,are%20activated%20by%20red%20light.

 

  1. A new type of mutation in phytochrome A causes enhanced light sensitivity and alters the degradation and subcellular partitioning of the photoreceptor. (2005). Retrieved 8 January 2021, from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/8120515_A_new_type_of_mutation_in_phytochrome_A_causes_enhanced_light_sensitivity_and_alters_the_degradation_and_subcellular_partitioning_of_the_photoreceptor

 

Picture Sources

Sensitive Mimosa Pudica Electrophysiology. Retrieved 11 January 2021, from https://backyardbrains.com/experiments/Plants_SensitiveMimosaPudica

 

Plant response to stimuli. Retrieved 9 January 2021, from https://www.api.simply.science/images/content/biology/plant_form_and_function/plant_responses/conceptmap/Plant_response_stimuli.html

 

Osmosis in Plant Cells. Retrieved 9 January 2021, from https://docsbay.net/osmosis-in-plant-cells

 

Smart News | Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 5 January 2021, from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/category/smart-news/?no-cache=testasp.vulnweb.com%252Ft%252Ffit.txt&page=1306

 

Plant Stock Vector (Royalty Free) 1240794331. Retrieved 14 January 2021, from https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/plant-1240794331

 

Retrieved 19 January 2021, from https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Geometry-of-Chara-corallina_fig1_40030585


Download Venus Fly Trap Illustration for free. Retrieved 15 February 2021, from https://www.vecteezy.com/vector-art/193536-venus-fly-trap-illustration

Klein, J. (2016). Plants Remember You if You Mess With Them Enough (Published 2016). Retrieved 15 February 2021, from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/29/science/29obs-plants.html

 

 

Acknowledgement

N/A