Plant reactions to anesthetics are similar to humans and animals

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In the United Kingdom, A new study showed that plants react to anesthetics similarly to the way animals and humans do, suggesting plants are ideal objects for testing anesthetics actions in future.

Anesthetics were first used in the 19th century when it was discovered that inhaling ether gas stopped patients feeling pain during surgery.  However, despite the fact that many anesthetics have been used over a 150-year period, little is known about how these different compounds with no structural similarities behave as anesthetic agents inducing loss of consciousness.

Remarkably, as found in the new study, anesthetics also work on plants.  Researchers found that, when exposed to anesthetics, a number of plants lost both their autonomous and touch-induced movements. Venus flytraps no longer generate electrical signals and their traps remain open when trigger hairs were touched, and growing pea tendrils stopped their autonomous movements and were immobilized in a curled shape.

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