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Old 02-20-2012, 10:30 PM   #1713622  /  #1
SteveF
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Default Russians revive Ice Age flower from frozen burrow

Quote:
It was an Ice Age squirrel's treasure chamber, a burrow containing fruit and seeds that had been stuck in the Siberian permafrost for over 30,000 years. From the fruit tissues, a team of Russian scientists managed to resurrect an entire plant in a pioneering experiment that paves the way for the revival of other species.

The Silene stenophylla is the oldest plant ever to be regenerated, the researchers said, and it is fertile, producing white flowers and viable seeds.

The experiment proves that permafrost serves as a natural depository for ancient life forms, said the Russian researchers, who published their findings in Tuesday's issue of "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" of the United States.
http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science...wer/53179022/1

paper later
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:55 PM   #1713697  /  #2
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From Ed Young
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Svetlana Yashina from the Russian Academy of Sciences grew the plants from immature fruits recovered from the burrow. She extracted their placentas – the structure that the seeds attach to – and bathed them in a brew of sugars, vitamins and growth factors. From these tissues, roots and shoots emerged.

Yashina potted the plants and two years later, they developed flowers. She fertilised the ancient flowers with each other’s pollen, and in a few months, they had produced their own seeds and fruits, all viable. The frozen plants, blooming again after millennia in the freezer, seeded a new generation.

S.stenophylla is still around, but Yashina found that the ancient plants are subtly different to their modern counterparts, even those taken from the same region. They’re slower to grow roots, they produce more buds, and their flower petals were wider.
Could be interesting to hear if a phylogenetic analysis finds them closest to a local extant strain or ones living in modern Siberian environments more closely resembling that of the frozen seeds'.


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Yashina carefully checked that her plants were indeed ancient ones. She dated the seeds directly, and her results matched age estimates from other samples from the same burrow. The burrows have been buried well below the level that animals dig into, and the structure of the surrounding ice suggests that they have never thawed. Their sediments are firmly compacted and totally filled with ice. No water infiltrates these chambers, much less plant roots or modern rodents. There are a few pores, but they are many times narrower than the width of any of Yashina’s seeds.
Sounds like she's got her bases covered.
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:11 PM   #1717028  /  #3
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The paper is now online:

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/02/17/1118386109

The author for correspondence is David Gilichinsky, but sadly he died just three days before publication of the paper:

http://davidinmemoriam.blogspot.com/...s-is-with.html
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Old 02-24-2012, 04:07 PM   #1717517  /  #4
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Jerry Coyne had a good write up about this. He suggested trying to crossbreed this with a modern species to see if they are genetically compatible.
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Old 02-24-2012, 06:44 PM   #1717728  /  #5
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Originally Posted by Worldtraveller View Post
Jerry Coyne had a good write up about this. He suggested trying to crossbreed this with a modern species to see if they are genetically compatible.
Plant hybrids are pretty common though, so I don't know just what that would tell you.
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Old 02-24-2012, 06:53 PM   #1717750  /  #6
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Maybe they laid some of the revived flowers on David's grave?
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Old 02-25-2012, 01:03 AM   #1718169  /  #7
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Planting some of them around his grave might be a more fitting gesture.


Then they turn out to be as invasive as r.multiflora and completely overwhelm some rare extant native flower that only grew in a corner of that specific cemetery.
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Old 02-25-2012, 01:45 AM   #1718184  /  #8
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Originally Posted by borealis View Post
Planting some of them around his grave might be a more fitting gesture.
I like it!
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