30,000-year-old seeds yield flowers

Feb. 22, 2012 at 7:19 PM
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MOSCOW, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Russian researchers say they have successfully resurrected a plant from 30,000-year-old seeds discovered in the country's Far Eastern permafrost region.

The plant, Silene Stenophylla, the oldest to be regenerated, is fertile and is producing white flowers and viable seeds, the scientists said in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"We consider it essential to continue permafrost studies in search of an ancient genetic pool, that of pre-existing life, which hypothetically has long since vanished from the earth's surface," the researchers wrote.

The experiment, carried out with seeds found 125 feet deep in permafrost on the bank of the River Kolyma in the Far Eastern Magadan Region, proves permafrost serves as a natural depository for ancient life forms, the researchers said.

The shape and color of the ancient plant were similar to today's distant relatives of the same flower but there are subtle differences in the shape of the petals and the sex of the flowers, the researchers said.

Seeds of plants between 40,000 and 25,000 years old have been previously discovered in the region but scientists have not been able to resurrect them, RIA Novosti reported.

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