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Plant defences slip without pest pressure

Results from a study by researchers at the US Cornell University (Ithaca, New York) show that plants can rapidly lose defence capabilities in the absence of pest pressure. The study looked at the effects of removing insect pests from field populations of the native biennial wildflower, evening primrose ( Oenothera biennis). Over a five-year period, equivalent to three to four generations, significant differences in the production of defence chemicals were apparent, along with changes in inter-specific competitiveness.

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