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Plant dignity principle wins spoof Nobel prize

The Ig Nobel peace prize has been awarded to a Swiss ethics committee for adopting the legal principle that plants have moral standing and dignity.

Awarded by the Annals of Improbable Research, a scientific humour magazine, Ig Nobel prizes honour real research, but they are meant as a parody of the prestigious Nobel Prizes, which will be announced next week.

In May this year, a report by the Swiss government's Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology (ECNH) described interfering with plants without a valid reason as "morally inadmissible".

The committee looked at ethical views held on plants and issues of how their use could be justified.

The ECNH was appointed to give an ethical perspective on the field of non-human biotechnology and gene technology and develop proposals on the principle of the dignity of creatures.

Other 2008 Ig Nobel winners include physicists who discovered that anything that can tangle will tangle, biologists who ascertained that dog fleas jump farther than cat fleas and a researcher who figured out that Coca Cola can make sperm explode.

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