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Biotech Science

Russian Scientists Revive Plant From 30,000-Year-Old Seeds 162

Posted by Soulskill
from the to-make-a-new-type-of-vodka dept.
An anonymous reader writes "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 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.'"
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Russian Scientists Revive Plant From 30,000-Year-Old Seeds

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  • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Monday February 20, 2012 @07:34PM (#39105015)
    You don't usually see something like this in your gardening store.
  • Oh no (Score:5, Funny)

    by j35ter (895427) on Monday February 20, 2012 @07:34PM (#39105023)
    Another Ice Age sequel *facepalm*
  • I saw this movie (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Monday February 20, 2012 @07:34PM (#39105027)

    Well the question is, how can you know anything about an extinct ecosystem? And therefore, how could you ever assume that you can control it? I mean, you have plants in this building that are poisonous. You picked them because they look good. But these are aggressive living things that have no idea what century they're in, and they'll defend themselves, violently if necessary.

    • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Monday February 20, 2012 @07:42PM (#39105083)

      But these are aggressive living things that have no idea what century they're in, and they'll defend themselves, violently if necessary.

      Great, just great. And now we've brought them into an era when handguns are cheap and readily available.

      • by flyingsquid (813711) on Monday February 20, 2012 @08:53PM (#39105645)
        "How can you do this to us? We brought you back from the Ice Age, and now you've turned on us!"

        "Well, what can I say? I guess I'm just a bad seed."

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        But these are aggressive living things that have no idea what century they're in, and they'll defend themselves, violently if necessary.

        Great, just great. And now we've brought them into an era when handguns are cheap and readily available.

        Duh, they're plants, so they don't have hands, so how can they use a handgun? Jesus Christ, people, think these things through.

        • Clearly you've never seen the movie "Attack of the Assault-Rifle Carrying Tomatoes" nor the sequel "Texas Corn with Chainsaws Massacre", where carnivorous GMO plants acquire gripper tendrils. In the planned third part of the trilogy, "Cucumbers with Glocks", girls wearing very little are terrorized by hostile mutant vegetables but in the end are saved by guys driving '56 Chevys. In glorious black and white with mono sound track.
    • Re:I saw this movie (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gmuslera (3436) * on Monday February 20, 2012 @07:46PM (#39105115) Homepage Journal
      You know how marketing works, have this plant, direct from the previous ice age!.if those plants become somewhat popular and get out, i would be worried about our actual ecosystem, Anyway, isnt like something back in the age of dinosaurs or even before. Should not be so big incompatibilities with actual species, and could get back some healty food for us.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Arancaytar (966377)

      At least they'll help us fight the zombies.

    • Re:I saw this movie (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Empiric (675968) on Monday February 20, 2012 @07:50PM (#39105161)
      The only movie I can think of is "Little Shop of Horrors", but I don't think that was quite the violent-plant image you had in mind...
    • Re:I saw this movie (Score:5, Informative)

      by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Monday February 20, 2012 @07:51PM (#39105171) Homepage Journal

      For the curious, pretty much all plants carry out some degree of chemical warfare between each other and other organisms—from the obvious, like plant seeds full of cyanides, to more subtle things, like conifers acidifying the soil around them with their needles and roots to prevent anything else from growing (and much more subtle things still.) I don't know quite enough about Siberia thirty thousand years ago to make a good statement, but I would guess that it was a little more temperate than it currently is; in that case, it's probable that the plants from that era were chemically more aggressive, as the the availability of resources and the richness of the soil would have been higher.

      Then again, one need only take this particular species further south to find out that it might very well be about average for the present day. Unfortunately there isn't enough historical expression information about plants to make a guess at the inflation rate (or deflation rate) over the long-term for plant toxicity in different ecosystems... but it could make a neat thesis topic.

    • by wbr1 (2538558) on Monday February 20, 2012 @08:22PM (#39105431)
      My question is, does Rick Moranis work at this lab? "Feed me Seymore!"
    • by ganjadude (952775)
      you mean "the happening" was a warning and not a story of fiction???
    • by ianare (1132971)

      The plant in question is not extinct, and is part of the current ecosystem in the Siberian tundra.

      Had this been an extinct plant, there would be something to worry about.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    .. plant revives you!

  • Scientists just come along and steal the food you've had stashed for 30,000 years... being a squirrel is rough.
  • by bandy (99800) <andrew.beals+slashdot@gmail.com> on Monday February 20, 2012 @07:52PM (#39105175) Homepage Journal
    Just what I need - another plant to be allergic to.
    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Just what I need - another plant to be allergic to.

      TFA the 2nd:

      Tragedy has now struck the Russian team. Dr. Gilichinksy, its leader, was hospitalized with an asthma attack and unable to respond to questions

      • Sadly, it's worse than that. He's apparently passed away due to a heart attack. I suppose it was brought on by the stress of the asthma attack. RIP Doc.
    • When I was at University, the college chapel organ was replaced and, in the interval, the company supplied an electronic organ. The College chaplain took the organist (now a professor at Oxford), pointed at the banjo stop and said "If you ever pull that you're never going to play the organ here again!" I am pretty sure he managed it more than once without the Chaplain noticing a thing.
  • by Vrallis (33290)

    Was Scrat's acorn in there too? Did the poor little guy ever get his treasure?

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday February 20, 2012 @08:06PM (#39105299) Homepage

    It will spray it's euro toxin at the researchers and take over their bodies with it's spores. commanding it's new plant zombie army to take over the world!

    and it will have fabulous parties.

  • by MoldySpore (1280634) on Monday February 20, 2012 @08:33PM (#39105511)
    ...I really have to question the idea of bringing back life that ceased to exist thousands, and eventually possibly millions, of years ago. Jurassic Park jokes aside, I hope they will take adequate precautions to not bring back something that could wind up being disastrous on the CURRENT iteration of Earth. I'm all for stuff like this, I just hope they err on the side of caution before bringing back random plants and introducing them into a modern ecosystem that has evolved well beyond when some of those plants will have existed.
    • There's only one way to find out!

      Realistically though, 30,000 years ago the earth wasn't much different than today.
      • by Algae_94 (2017070)
        Some of the oldest living plants today are over 4000 years old [wikipedia.org]. Theoretically then, 30,000 years could be covered by 8 generations of one of these extremely long-living plants.
      • from about 75,000 years ago until about 14,500 years ago, the world was glaciered over.

        Here's a brief rundown of the climactic change over the years:
        75,000 - 60,000 y.a. - full glacial world, cold and dry (the 'Lower Pleniglacial' or Stage 4)
        60,000 - 25,000 y.a. - 'middling phase' of highly unstable but generally cooler and drier-than-present conditions (Stage 3)
        25,000 - 15,000 y.a. - full glacial world, cold and dry; Stage 2 (includes the 'Last Glacial Maximum')
        (This period includes two 'coldest phases' -

        • OK, that's great, but it's not like we're going to find a plant that suddenly grows wildly and removes all oxygen from the air, killing the human race. There is nothing different in the climate 30,000 years ago that would indicate that the plants then were drastically different than the plants now.
    • by Michael Woodhams (112247) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @12:52AM (#39106971) Journal

      Calm down, it is just a plant. There is no reason to expect it to be more dangerous than any one of millions of other plant species which are currently not taking over the world. It was around 30,000 years ago, and spectacularly failed to take over the world back then when it had the chance. The article notes that there is a very similar species (Silene stenophylla) which is around today, also not taking over the world.

  • #whatcouldpossiblygowrong
  • Since its 300,000 years old from seed to flowering, would that not define it as the world's oldest living thing?
  • http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Krynoid [wikia.com]

    http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/The_Seeds_of_Doom [wikia.com]

    For shame... for shame...
    No one remembers their Tom Baker Dr. Who episodes.

  • Jurassic Park meets little shop of horrors!
    Hope Rick Moranis isnt in this one!

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do. -- R. A. Heinlein