Scientists regenerate a plant -30,000 years on

WASHINGTON: Fruit seeds stored away by squirrels more than 30,000 years ago and found in Siberian permafrost have been regenerated into full flowering plants by scientists in Russia, a new study has revealed.


The seeds of the herbaceous Silene stenophylla are far and away the oldest plant tissue to have been brought back to life, according to lead researchers Svetlana Yashina and David Gilichinsky of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The latest findings could be a landmark in research of ancient biological material and the race to potentially revive other species, including some that are extinct.

And they highlight the importance of permafrost itself in the "search of an ancient genetic pool, that of preexisting life, which hypothetically has long since vanished from the earth's surface," they wrote.

The previous record for viable regeneration of ancient flora was with 2,000-year-old date palm seeds at the Masada fortress near the Dead Sea in Israel. (AFP)
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