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Plants communicate with light signals, affect crop yield: Who knew?

All might look quiet on the agricultural front, but in the war between weeds and crops, weeds are winning.

A new theory developed by University of Guelph researcher Clarence Swanton, suggests weeds can alter crop plant growth by affecting light signals used by crop plants to communicate.

“This in itself, is revolutionary,” said Swanton, a weed scientist in the Department of Plant Agriculture at the Ontario Agricultural College.

“This whole basis of our research begins with the fact that plants are able to communicate."

Weeds are resilient, adaptable and can damage crop yields. But Swanton says altering crop plants’ light signals so they are more tolerant to weeds may increase the yield curve.

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