A new study has shown that a number of plants respond to anesthesia in the same way as animals. They lose sensitivity, the transfer of substances between cells slows down, and the plant seems to "fall asleep". If scientists understand the details of this process, the harsh practice of testing new pain relievers and drugs on animals could be a thing of the past.
The main experimental subjects in the experiment were plants of two types: the Venus flytrap and young peas. When anesthetics were injected, the carnivorous flycatcher stopped responding to touching sensitive hairs, and its trapping chamber remained open even when prey was deliberately placed there. Pea antennae under the action of anesthesia twisted into a spiral and the plant completely lost its mobility.
"Disabling" reactions in flycatchers and peas, which are considered unconditioned, reflex, clearly indicates that anesthesia acts on plants. Even more interesting, the researchers found parallels in the mechanisms of the effects of anesthetics in humans and plants.
This discovery provides a chance to radically change the entire system of development and testing of new drugs. Not because “plants don't feel pain, ” quite the opposite. Scientists have long ceased to be satisfied with the results of testing new substances on animals at random. The future lies with a deep understanding of the processes occurring in living organisms, and this research will become an impetus for their study.