A 32,000-year-old plant blooms again
Location: Vienna, Austria
A Russian team discovered
a seed cache years ago
containing the Silene Stenophylla
Scientists were able to extract
tissue from the frozen seeds
buried deep below the surface
and successfully germinate the plant
(SOUNDBITE) (English) PLANT BIOTECHNOLOGIST AND PROFESSOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NATURAL RESSOURCES AND LIFE SCIENCES IN VIENNA, MARGIT LAIMER, SAYING:"The plant has managed to survive this time gap due to some very fortunate conditions which are: One, it was probably dry when it was stored and deep enough down in Earth, because something must have happened that we don't know what it was that it was buried very deep. So, now that permafrost soils in Russia are defrosting we are finding testimonies of these ancient times which we did not even expect to find."
The team is seeking to
sequence the plant's genome
and the order of its DNA
hoping to uncover the conditions
that kept the ancient seeds viable
(SOUNDBITE) (English) PLANT BIOTECHNOLOGIST AND PROFESSOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NATURAL RESSOURCES AND LIFE SCIENCES IN VIENNA, MARGIT LAIMER, SAYING:"We hope we can find changes in genes that allow plants to adapt to very dry or very cold or very hot conditions, and to use this knowledge, new piece of knowledge that we can create for new plant improvement."