Botanist discussing Baby Groot’s biology takes Twitter by storm
Biology plus Guardians Of The Galaxy equals sensational stuff.
If you’ve not seen either of the Guardians Of The Galaxy films, the following Twitter thread contains spoilers, but also a lot of excellent film-based biology too.
James Wong is a Kew-trained botanist, science writer and broadcaster, and his thoughts on a character from Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2 are taking social media by storm.
THE BIOLOGY OF BABY GROOT. ⬇️— James Wong (@Botanygeek) May 7, 2018
Baby groot is created from a cutting of Groot, an ambulant alien plant who dies at the end of the 1st Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
Geeks are hotly debating whether he is a ‘son’ of Groot or just Groot living on.
Botanist to the rescue... pic.twitter.com/7NqKI65M9l
Baby Groot is indeed a cutting of original character Groot, a tree-like creature from the first of the two Guardians films who dies protecting other characters.
Director of both films James Gunn has said on Twitter that Baby Groot is Groot’s son, but does that stand up to a botanist’s scrutiny?
Baby Groot is the result of a form of asexual reproduction known as vegetative propagation.— James Wong (@Botanygeek) May 7, 2018
Plants, unlike most animals, retain their stem cells through their lives. So cloning them is super easy.
Baby Groot is therefore a perfect genetic clone of Big Groot. pic.twitter.com/l5Dqaw4DCZ
Wong begins by explaining that Baby Groot is a genetic clone of Groot, before suggesting an alternative theory.
‘Son’s’ tend to only share 1/2 their DNA with their parents. So this analogy is tricky. Genetically they are one and the same, more like identical twins.— James Wong (@Botanygeek) May 7, 2018
(Unless, of course, Baby groot was actually grown from the pollen/spores/seeds emitted by Groot in the crash landing scene?) pic.twitter.com/nLxjiwphwA
If it was indeed pollen in that scene, it would suggest there is a mysterious ‘Lady Groot’ character we have so far not seen.— James Wong (@Botanygeek) May 7, 2018
However, as many (most?) plants are simultaneously male and female, it is highly likely that we all have our pronouns wrong here! pic.twitter.com/oHysGBS6RX
And if Baby Groot is a cutting, it sounds as though it may well have retained some of Groot’s original memories.
And finally, as we now know even Earth plants can process complex information about the world around them & retain it without the need for a centralised storage organ like animals need (ie a brain).— James Wong (@Botanygeek) May 7, 2018
If Baby groot is a cutting, it is likely it retains Big Groot’s memories!😱 pic.twitter.com/1dpM4Dubl2
Of course, it’s just a theory.
And if you are cross about this thread proposing a speculative hypothesis about fictional, alien exobiology....— James Wong (@Botanygeek) May 7, 2018
Congrats! You are even more of a geek than me. 🌿🌴🔬 pic.twitter.com/XSECg3STDZ
Prepare yourself for Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 3: Gardeners’ World.