Feeling sleepy

Medicago truncatula Like most animals, plants also sleep at night. At least, many do, but not, unfortunately, Arabidopsis, and our scientific over-reliance on this one species has hampered understanding of nyctinasty, sleeping movements of leaves. A new commentrary in PNAS discusses the genetic basis for sleepy plants, and is well worth a read:

Genetic basis of the “sleeping leaves” revealed. PNAS USA 6 July 2012, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1209532109

See also:

Conserved genetic determinant of motor organ identity in Medicago truncatula and related legumes. PNAS USA, 11 June 2012, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1204566109