It has long been known that dodders are “vampire-like” parasitic plants. Like a nightmare from an alien horror film, the dodder wraps itself around its host. It then uses a long probe to literally tap into its victim and drain their fluids.
Researchers had done previous work that found that when the dodder first sinks its “fang” into its victim, it also begins to transport RNA – the DNA translator – between it and its host.
This latest study expands on that, finding that a surprising amount of messenger RNA (mRNA) is constantly being exchanged between both plants during the parasitic relationship….
….like any true vampire, the dodder has a “silver tongue,” sweet-talking its victim into lowering its defenses.
Here it is having its way with a blooming shrub: