Morgan Thomas

Cell Biology Fall 2020

ePortfolio

This ePortfolio segment represents the work that I completed this semester in my Cell Biology Course here at ODU.

-Draw Me a Cell

This drawing represents a plant cell’s basic parts and showcases its defined shape.

-Draw Me a Molecule

-Find Me a Meme

This assignment was quite a fun one and it showed how humor can help you to remember an idea that you have learned.

This meme was so funny to me haha. I think it is a great way to help people remember what a heterozygote is if they are having difficulties with the concept. I remember when first learning about homozygous vs. heterozygous I was very confused and could not remember the difference. These half and half goats show the fact that heterozygotes have 2 different alleles as opposed to a homozygote. Also I feel as though the inclusion of the subscript at the bottom that says “Just allele uneven.” completely made the meme.

-Electrical Signaling in Plants Paper

Cell Bio                                                                                                           Morgan Thomas

Electrical Signaling in Plants

Electrical Signaling is a very important process in plants. Electrical signaling allows communication within a plant’s entire “body”. This ability for a plant to be able to send messages to different areas within it allows for the plant to react to climate and weather changes as well as other scenarios. This electrical signaling also helps to show ions and other substances that need to be transferred as they move. As these substances are transported the electrical charge either increases or decreases.

A scenario where this electrical signaling is used that I found incredibly thought provoking was when the plant became damaged. This brings the question of whether or not plants have feeling. If they can recognize the fact that they have been damaged or “injured” then what is to argue that they do not understand these signals as pain signals. This question is a very complex one as we may not ever know the exact answers because we cannot understand what a plant is feeling.

Another scenario that electrical signaling is used during is when there are environmental changes around a plant. The ability of a plant to make its entire self-aware of the climate it is currently in helps it tremendously. Plants being able to adjust themselves to better fit their environment allows them to be better suited for the place that they live. Some species thrive in the shade while others thrive in the sun (etc.) and electrical signaling allows plants to know what conditions they are currently under.

Plants can communicate with other cells throughout its being due to the fact that the electrical signals moving throughout the plant move at a very fast rate. The electrical signals actually move at about 3.5 inches per minute (Thomas 2013). This speedy communication allows plants to understand what is happening to the other cells within it as fast as possible. The ability for them to communicate throughout their “body” at this fast rate allows them to be aware of their current scenario very quickly and they can then start trying to repair what they can or preserve what is left of them.

There are also multiple types of channels that exist within the body of a plant that allow transport of many things such between the inside of cells and the outside of cells. They tend to depend on/ react to electrical signals within the plant. These channels control transport within plant cells. Electrical signaling facilitates the transport of these ions and other substances between the cytosol, vacuole, and outside of the cell. An example of one of these systems is the sodium potassium pump, this pump ensures that there are proper levels of sodium inside of the cells. There are also channels that are dependent upon electrical charges within the cell. They will either open or close depending upon the charge within the cell and outside of the cell.

Electrical signaling has been very important to keep species of plants from going extinct due to its ability to assist plants survival. This cellular level ability to communicate allows plants to understand why they need to evolve in order to allow their species to continue thriving. Electrical signaling has allowed certain species to branch off from other species as they have needed to change in order to survive in their environment.

As more is learned about electrical signaling, science will be able to better understand what all plants communicate about with it. We already know that they use it for a lot of very important things. It allows them to understand how they need to change themselves in order to survive in their current environment. Electrical signaling also allows plants to control channels and transport within cells. Electrical charge and signaling controls more than we thought within plants as they are very complicated just like animals are. Now is when we ask how complicated plants really are. Are plants able to understand pain when they are damaged? The answer is they probably are. They are able to communicate throughout their cells that they are not experiencing normal conditions and thus are in distress.

-References for Paper

Thomas, Brian. Accessed Dec. 6, 2020. September 11, 2013. Shocking Evidence of Electrical Signals in Plants | The Institute for Creation Research (icr.org)

A.G. Volkov, T.C. Dunkley, S.A. Morgan, et al.Bioelectrochemical signaling in green plants induced by photosensory system. Bioelectrochemistry, 63 (2004), pp. 91-94

Ingo Dreyer,1,* Frances C. Sussmilch,2,3 Kenji Fukushima,2 Gonzalo Riadi,1 Dirk Becker,2 Jörg Schultz,4 and Rainer Hedrich2*. Accessed Nov. 23, 2020. How to Grow a Tree: Plant Voltage-Dependent Cation Channels in the Spotlight of Evolution. Cell Press.

-Course Reflection

This course really opened my eyes more to how complex cells really are. We are always taught that cells have many complex systems and that they are important but never before this did I understand to what extent this is true. This really helps to understand that you must think about things on a cellular level more than you may tend to. I am a Biology Major with a Conservation Leadership Minor and I feel like my knowledge for my future career field was really expanded in this course. I look forward to this course influencing my future learning during my academic career and beyond.


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