30.000 year old plant revived

Nieuws | de redactie
22 februari 2012 | For the first time, Russian researchers have managed to revive a plant species that existed 30.000 years ago. Fruit tissue was uncovered from squirrel borrows which could then be used to grow a full plant by using in vitro tissue culture and clonal micropropagation.

Svetlana Yashina and Stanislav Gubin were part of a team fromthe Russian Academy of Sciences that managed to revive a 30.000 year old plant species. TheflowerSilene stenophylla was extinct till then.

It could be resurrected from fruit tissue that a squirrelsecreted into its burrow during the Pleistocene Age. Subsequentlyfrozen over and buried over 30 meters below permafrost innortheastern Siberia, the maternal, immature fruit tissue could beextracted intact.

Unique characteristics

Through in vitro tissue culture and clonal micropropagation, theRussians were able to grow a full plant that has some uniquecharacteristics. Compared to its descendants,S. stenophyllahaspetals that are broader and more furrowed. Also, its blossoms areall female first, then becoming hermaphroditic, while its relativesof today are all hermaphroditic from the start.

“At present, plants ofS. stenophyllaare the most ancient,viable, multicellular, living organisms. The investigation showedhigh cryoresistance of plant placental tissue in permafrost. Thisnatural cryopreservation of plant tissue over many thousands ofyears demonstrates a role for permafrost as a depository for anancient gene pool, i.e., preexisting life.”

For a bigger picture of the plant, click here.

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