Reasons Why The Walking Dead Scares the Crap Out of Me, Ctd.

Apropos of previous posts about how the zombie genre hits closer to scientific home than most of us realize, here’s one about parasitic bacteria taking over the function of plants for their own monstrous ends:

The plant parasite in her study is dependent on both insects to spread and  on which to grow. It induces the plant to transform its flowers into leaf tissue, sacrificing its reproductive success and becoming sterile. It is now a zombie plant – dead to the future and destined to benefit only the survival of the bacteria.

When leafhoppers eat infected plant material, the bacteria colonize the insects, including their salivary glands. If the insect dribbles saliva as it sucks on another plant, the bacteria are able to spread into new plant tissue. The bacteria set to work on making the plant more attractive to leafhoppers.

 

Stay vigilant.

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