1021-4437/03/5004- $25.00 © 2003
Russian Journal of Plant Physiology, Vol. 50, No. 4, 2003, pp. 522–526. Translated from Fiziologiya Rastenii, Vol. 50, No. 4, 2003, pp. 587–592.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2003 by Nanush’yan, Murashev.
Literature data show that some animal and plant
cells unusually respond to the changes in geomagnetic
ﬁeld (GMF) [1–9]. Global magnetic ﬁeld was experi-
mentally established: by the rate and character of its
variability, GMF comprises stationary and variable
components. The period of change in the stationary
GMF of the Earth comes to hundreds of years. The vari-
able GMF changes within the periods ranging from the
fractions of second to several months. The value of the
variable GMF does not exceed 2% of the stationary
GMF, yet its biological role is very signiﬁcant. There
are internal and external causes for GMF generation.
The internal causes are related to the state of the planet
and account for slow wave-like oscillations of the direct
current of the Earth. The external causes (electric ﬂuxes
in ionosphere and outer space) account for the rapid
GMF changes and constitute its variable component.
The changes in variable GMF, called variations or ﬂuc-
tuations, are of different classes. On calm days, the
course of changes may be steady and smooth; on dis-
turbed days, it is confused because the peak values,
phases, and periods of oscillations constantly vary.
Sharp GMF outrages are called magnetic storms.
Changes in GMF and the rise of magnetic storms are
mainly related to the solar activity. The investigations
have shown that GMF is one of the major mediators of
solar inﬂuence on the Earth. It was demonstrated that
the magnetic ﬁelds of the Sun and Earth are closely
related [3, 5].
The effect of geomagnetic storms as a stress factor
was studied in human and animal organisms . Upon
geomagnetic outrages, the emergence of giant nuclei
and multinuclear cells was observed in human blood
preparations . We are not aware of such studies con-
ducted with plant cells.
At the same time, giant cells were observed in the
roots exposed to X-rays at a dose that did not stop cell
divisions [10, 11]. In these cases, some cells that lost
the ability to divide turned out to be much longer than
The meristems are considered the most sensitive
formative plant tissues. Their tolerance to environmen-
tal agents is believed to determine the resistance of the
whole organism . That is why we decided to use the
apical meristem as an embryonic tissue that constantly
produces new cells and actively responds to external
factors in order to relate the cellular changes occurring
therein to the GMF ﬂuctuations.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
L., cv. Myachkovskii, were
imbibed in distilled water and germinated in darkness
C for 3–5 days. The seedling roots of 10–12 mm
in length were excised and ﬁxed in a freshly prepared
mixture of 96% ethanol and concentrated acetic acid
(3 : 1) for 12–24 h. In the course of a 24-day-long
experiment, 15 roots were ﬁxed two times a day. The
ﬁxative was washed off with 70% ethanol, and the
material was stored in refrigerator under ethanol.
Before the analysis, the roots were macerated in 1 N
HCl for 30 min at 20
C, then washed with 45% acetic
acid, and submerged for a day at room temperature into
3% carmine (BDH, United Kingdom) in 45% acetic
All squashed cytological preparations of meristem-
atic apices no longer than 1500
m (ten for each time
Induction of Multinuclear Cells in the Apical Meristems
by Geomagnetic Field Outrages
E. R. Nanush’yan and V. V. Murashev
Faculty of Biology, Moscow State University, Vorob’evy gory 1, Moscow, 119992 Russia;
fax: 7 (095) 939-4309; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received March 22, 2002
—This paper is a result of a long-term study of the apical meristems of the
against a background of naturally changing geomagnetic ﬁeld. Multinuclear cells, large cells with large nuclei,
and giant cells with giant nuclei were detected. Changes in cellular structures were revealed, and the time-
course of this process was followed. Changes in the cellular structure of meristems were correlated with the
ﬂuctuations of magnetic ﬁeld of the Earth. The experiments conducted with
culture of apical meristems
showed that the observed changes were regulated on the local level.
Key words: Allium cepa - magnetoreception - giant cells - giant nuclei - apical meristems - magnetic ﬁeld of
the Earth - outrages of geomagnetic ﬁeld - cellular self-regulation - adaptation
: GMF—geomagnetic ﬁeld.