Why are plants resistant to most insects?

Science / Life Sciences

We live on a planet dominated by plants and insects. While plants represent more than 80% of all terrestrial biomass, no other group of organisms is as rich as insects, with more than a million species. One of the most prevalent forms of interaction between these two “biological empires” is herbivory, where an insect consumes plant tissue as food. However, when we look at the plants growing around us, we will notice something interesting: they are generally not being destroyed by insects! In other words, susceptibility to insect attack is the exception rather than the rule in the plant kingdom. Our project aims to understand how plants reached this condition and why they resist most insects. In addition to delving into a little-explored branch of the plant immune system, this research has enormous potential for developing cultivars that are more resilient to attack by pests, making our crops safer.

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