Plant researchers at VIB and Ghent University have found that plants generally live longer than animals because they utilize their stem cells, which are crucial for the uninterrupted generation of new cells, better than animals.
One of the researchers, Lieven De Veylder, said that the study suggests that certain organizing stem cells in plant roots are less sensitive for DNA-damage and these cells hold an original and intact DNA copy that can be used to replace damaged cells if necessary.
Even though animals rely on a similar mechanism, plants have more likely employed this in a more optimized manner, Veylder asserted.
"This could explain why many plants can live for more than hundreds of years, while this is quite exceptional for animals," Veylder said.
The study is published online in the latest issue of Science Express.