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A team of Russian scientists has found some seeds of Silene stenophylla, a Siberian flowering plant, aged 32000 and perfectly preserved. The seeds have easily germinated and gave rise to small flowering stems.

by: SeedsCactus.com26/01/2014

An exciting news bounces from the cold Siberian steppes, where a team of Russian scientists has completed a task of considerable scientific importance. The scientists (botanists, biologists and paleontologists) of the Russian Academy of Science of Pushkin, were in engaged in research along the banks of the river Koryma (Eastern Siberia), a well-known place to researchers around the world because of the abundant presence of fossils and bones of mammoths. Near a river bend many rodent burrows were found, very extensive in length and especially deep: some of the underground tunnels penetrated even to 40 meters deep, where the soil is permanently frozen.

Inside the dens, scientists have discovered a large quantity of seeds, probably a grain storehouse created by the small rodents, in a perfect preservation: the permafrost, in fact, enveloped the entire seeds deposit preserving their viability. Dated by the radiocarbon method, the seeds have revealed an age of about 32000 years.

The step was short: after some complex operations of thawing and genetic analysis (which made possible possible to establish with certainty that it was just Silene stenophylla) researchers have immediately tried to germinate the seeds, reproducing in laboratory environmental conditions. After a few days, here are the small plants: the imperceptible differences with some plant species in the area (leaves slightly smaller) show the evolutionary process undergone by the species over the years. After one year, the plants are flowering and they also produced new seeds.

The Russian team has beated the record of Elaine Solowey, botanist of Arava Institute in Israel, who held the world record for having regenerated a palm seedling from a seed of "only" 2000 years ago. The same Elaine, about this news, said that the cryo-preservation of seeds could have important implications for the conservation of today’s biodiversity: in fact, all the most important projects for the conservation of seed (the last is the famous global underground deposit of Svalbard Islands) are based on their own freezing and all knowledge on how they can return to life is precious.


Silene stenophylla

Silene stenophylla







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