A new discovery by a team at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany will coerce plants into growing in total darkness.
Sunlight actually does more than simply provide plants with metabolic energy—it also activates photoreceptor cells called Phytochromes that, in turn, switch on physical processes like germination and blossoming. The study, which was just published in The Plant Cell journal, has devised an alternative means of jump-starting these same processes—relying on chemicals rather than the sun.
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