Russians revive Ice Age flower from frozen burrow .

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Matthew, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. Matthew
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    Matthew Blue dog all the way!

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    Russians revive Ice Age flower from frozen burrow .

    This undated photo provided by the Institute of Cell Biophysics of the Russian Academy of Sciences show a Sylene stenophylla plant regenerated from tissue of fossil fruit. The plant has been regenerated from tissues found in a squirrel burrow that had been stuck in Siberian permafrost for over 30,000 years. It is the oldest plant ever to be regenerated and it is fertile, producing white flowers and viable seeds. (AP Photo/HO, the Institute of Cell Biophysics of the Russian Academy of Sciences) Mandatory Credit

    By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV



    MOSCOW — 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.

    "We consider it essential to continue permafrost studies in search of an ancient genetic pool, that of pre-existing life, which hypothetically has long since vanished from the earth's surface," the scientists said in the article.

    Canadian researchers had earlier regenerated some significantly younger plants from seeds found in burrows.

    Svetlana Yashina of the Institute of Cell Biophysics of the Russian Academy Of Sciences, who led the regeneration effort, said the revived plant looked very similar to its modern version, which still grows in the same area in northeastern Siberia.

    "It's a very viable plant, and it adapts really well," she told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from the Russian town of Pushchino where her lab is located.

    She voiced hope the team could continue its work and regenerate more plant species.

    The Russian research team recovered the fruit after investigating dozens of fossil burrows hidden in ice deposits on the right bank of the lower Kolyma River in northeastern Siberia, the sediments dating back 30,000-32,000 years.

    The sediments were firmly cemented together and often totally filled with ice, making any water infiltration impossible — creating a natural freezing chamber fully isolated from the surface.

    "The squirrels dug the frozen ground to build their burrows, which are about the size of a soccer ball, putting in hay first and then animal fur for a perfect storage chamber," said Stanislav Gubin, one of the authors of the study, who spent years rummaging through the area for squirrel burrows. "It's a natural cryobank."

    The burrows were located 125 feet (38 meters) below the present surface in layers containing bones of large mammals, such as mammoth, wooly rhinoceros, bison, horse and deer.

    Gubin said the study has demonstrated that tissue can survive ice conservation for tens of thousands of years, opening the way to the possible resurrection of Ice Age mammals.

    "If we are lucky, we can find some frozen squirrel tissue," Gubin told the AP. "And this path could lead us all the way to mammoth."

    Japanese scientists are already searching in the same area for mammoth remains, but Gubin voiced hope that the Russians will be the first to find some frozen animal tissue that could be used for regeneration.

    "It's our land, we will try to get them first," he said.
    Russians revive Ice Age flower from frozen burrow - World news - Europe - msnbc.com
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012
  2. Baruch Menachem
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    Baruch Menachem '

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    Pliocene Park anyone?
     
  3. Ringel05
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    Ringel05 Diamond Member

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    I'll get started with the Sci-fi, horror screen play right away!
     
  4. idb
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    idb Gold Member

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    How very cool!
     
  5. blastoff
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    blastoff Undocumented Reg. User

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    Pretty amazing. Tucked away all those thousands of years in Mother Nature's cooler, and all ya gotta do is add dirt and water.

    But then it got me thinking about that cave or mine or whatever it is where they've got trillions and trillions of all kinds of seeds stored just in case the stuff hits mankind's fan some day. Guess it's nice to know someone's thinking ahead, but try and imagine what might cause ever needing them?
     
  6. violet
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    violet BANNED

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    it's cool but shouldn't we be trying to bring back recently extinct species that man has killed off rather than going after the ones that were killed off by nautral processes? You bring back ancient plants you might also bring back ancient disease that might kill off current species with little or no immunity to them.
     
  7. Truthmatters
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    Truthmatters BANNED

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    regeberating this plant would not bring back any diseases the way it was recreated.

    anything living on the host was not regnerated, only the host was.
     
  8. violet
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    violet BANNED

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    How do we know though? if you have a hamburger infected with E-coli and you freeze it and unfreeze it, does it kill the E-coli? If the seed was contaminated with something aren't we taking a chance that it might also come back within the seed itself?
     
  9. L.K.Eder
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    L.K.Eder unbannable non-troll

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    next step, lenin.
     
  10. whitehall
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    whitehall Gold Member

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    We aren't talking about millions of years and the dinosaurs. What happened 30,000 years ago to quick freeze a rodent's stash of seeds.
     

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