We all have had things happen in our lives that make the memory-erasing procedure from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind sound appealing — failed presentations, awful job interviews, horrific dates, that infamous family Thanksgiving (you know the one).
And while we can certainly do our best to block out every embarrassing moment from high school — which may still show up in anxiety dreams years later — it turns out that when it comes to moving on from traumatic moments, plants may have the upper hand.
A recent study from Australian National University in Canberra posits that “resetting and forgetfulness are likely the overriding strategies used by plants to maximize growth under favorable conditions as soon as they return,” and that plants can do this through altering their own DNA. So what does that actually mean?
One of the co-authors of the study, Peter Crisp, told the New Scientist that essentially, “plants are good at forgetting.” Apparently, that philodendron you thought was simply brightening up your cubicle could be way less stressed than you are. Crisp and his team explained that many plants have evolved to forget stress so as to not adversely impact growth in the future.
For example, a species of plant that lived through a drought can forget that memory so that the next generation can shed that survival knowledge if it’s not needed. “You could have an organism that’s spending way too much energy transcribing genes that really aren’t necessary at a specific time,” noted co-author Steven Eichten.
There is certainly something to be said for letting go of negative feelings before they get in the way of what you want to achieve in the future.
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