Regeneration of Fertile Plants Buried 30,000 Years Ago in Permafrost.

Russian scientists have successfully regenerated the 30, 000 year old plant, Silene stenophylla, from fruit tissue buried 20–40 m  in the undisturbed permafrost of the Kolyma River, Siberia. This breakthrough has succeeded the previous record holder for most ancient viable organism, which was a 2,000 year old date palm from Israel.

The samples dating back to the last Ice Age during the Late Pleistocene era, were removed from fossilised burrows of Urocitellus parryii, an Arctic ground squirrel, and were regenerated using in vitro tissue culture and clonal micropropagation techniques.

These fruits are said to have been in a good state of morphological preservation, despite radiocarbon dating techniques indicating they are 31, 800 ± 300 years old.

Silene Regenerated Plant Credit: Discover Magazine

Silene Regenerated Plant
Credit: Discover Magazine

This study has enabled the growth of 36 from ancient parts of the tissue of three immature and uninjured fruits from the S. stenophylla. Morphophysiological analysis of the ancient and modern plants was carried out and and compared, and it has been confirmed they are the same phenotype of S. stenophylla.

Even more incredible, is that the germination of seeds from the reconstructed plants was 100%, meaning they are fully fertile.

This research is incredibly significant to the field of botany in regards to the long-term preservation of plant material using these regeneration techniques. Although this plant was not an extinct species, replicating this experimental technique could mean the resurrection of extinct plants.

The full research paper can be found here: http://www.pnas.org/content/109/10/4008.full.pdf+html

 

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