distantly related organisms. Research and teaching in plant science can be justified in the same way because there are common principles in the biology of (for example) peas and people. These principles mean that our work with plants has the potential for impact across the whole of biology.
However, plants also have a unique role amongst living systems. They are the primary source of food for all other living organisms and, as such, they are central both to agriculture and to conservation of the natural environment. Plants are also being developed as fuel crops and, through their effects on emissions and absorption of greenhouse gases, they contribute to mitigation of climate change.