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Marine plants polarizing remote eggs via luminescence

    Lionel F Jaffe

Zygotes of the marine alga Fucus can be polarized by many environmental vectors. These include those created by pieces of all of the intertidal marine plants tested. At distances of up to 5-10 mm away from such pieces, Fucus zygotes form their initial outgrowths or germinate towards them. Earlier papers had inferred that this so-called 'thallus effect' is mediated by diffusing molecules. The present reinvestigation indicates that the thallus effect is exerted by influences that can go through glass barriers. This suggests action via luminescence. This luminescence may come from bacteria growing in biofilms on the similar surfaces of these otherwise unrelated source plants. Moreover, this directive luminescence is inferred to lie at wavelengths in the red or longer and may take the form of more or less coherent biophotons.

The only other convincing evidence that certain directive cell interactions are mediated by luminescence lies in the work of Guenter Albrecht-Buehler at Northwestern University. His studies of the directional responses of cultured mammalian cells show that the effective luminescence lies in the far-red or near infrared...and is pulsating. [See Albrecht-Buehler, G. J. Cell Biol. 1991, 114: 493-502; PNAS 1992, 89: 8288-8292; Cell Motil. Cytoskel. 1994; 27: 262-271; same place, 1998; 40: 183-192.]

Submitted: 10-Jan-106

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Lionel F Jaffe |
Marine Biological Laboratory |
Woods Hole, MA |
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