Gingko trees live for a very long time and hardly show signs of aging, but they are not immortal. Most likely, they still grow old and die from old age, but it is too slow for human perception. A low number of copies of a record of the age further complicated the study of this process. The arguments for this view are set out on pages published in the journal Trends in Plant Science.
Trees are among the most long-lived organisms on Earth. The age of some of them thousands of years. No wonder they have long attracted the attention of specialists in aging who want to reveal the secret of their longevity and, possibly, use it to extend human lives.
One of the most famous types of trees-long-livers — Ginkgo biloba (Ginkgo biloba). The age of individual specimens of this plant is estimated at 2500 years. Sometimes it is argued that Ginkgo does not grow old: for example, a recent analysis showedthat even the age of the trees 667 years continue to produce viable seeds, and the efficiency of their photosynthesis is not reduced.
CERGY Munne-Bosch (Sergi Munne-Bosch), specialist in biochemistry and plant physiology from the University of Barcelona, decided to test the claims of my colleagues on the immortality of Ginkgo. After analyzing data from the literature, he identified several factors that contribute to the incredible longevity of these trees.
They were disease resistance, the ability for vegetative propagation, even in old age, and propensity for growing in areas free of competitors. An important contribution to a long life of Ginkgo and many other trees, is also contributing to the modular structure of their body. Individual modules, for example, branches may grow old and wither away, but this is weakly reflected on the entire tree.
As a result, the rate of aging Ginkgo is very low — in other words, with increasing age the risk of death remains almost unchanged or even decreases. However, this does not speak of the immortality of the trees. Theoretically to live to a ripe old age can any Ginkgo, however, only a few really capable of. The result is a truly ancient trees can be counted on the fingers, and the average age of a species far below the record values.
Low number of very old specimens of Ginkgo introduces distortions in the statistics, leading the researchers to conclude that this species is potentially immortal. Another problem is that people’s lives are too short, but systematic research began too recently, so we can ignore age-related changes in these trees.
Munne-BOSH gives the following arguments in favor of his point of view. First, with age, the Ginkgo is gradually reduced activity of cell division of the cambium, which gives rise to the vascular tissues. Secondly, it is very old specimens show signs of physiological stress. The older Ginkgo, the worse he copes with the synthesis of conducting tissues, which ultimately leads to his death.
Sometimes even the most hardy trees can not withstand the consequences of human activities. For example, recently researchers foundthat from 2005 to 2017 killed nine of the 13 oldest and the five or six largest of the African baobab (Adansonia modeling). Perhaps they were compromised by climate change.
Sergey Knee High