Scientists Grew A Plant From A 32,000-Year-Old Seed

32,000-Year-Old Seed

In 2012, S. Yashina, S. Gubin, S. Maksimovich, A. Yashina, E. Gakhova, and D. Gilichinsky discovered some 32,000-year-old seeds and succeeded to grow a viable plant from them. These seeds were found covered in ice and buried 125 feet underground, deep in the Siberian permafrost. At the time of this interesting discovery, this group of scientists was studying the burrows of ancient squirrels! The plant that had grown from these seeds was, in fact, a Silene stenophylla, a flower that looks similar to its modern doppelgänger that still thrives in Siberia.

Image credits: Lisi Niesner

To this day, no one really knows how these seeds managed to survive for that long. Recently, some scientists in Austria decided to start tackling this mystery by investigating the DNA of these ancient plants.

Image credits: Lisi Niesner

This investigation is currently taking place at Vienna’s University Of Natural Resources And Life Sciences. The main goal of this exploration is to find out whether there are changes in plant genes that can adapt to very dry, hot, or cold conditions. Such findings could be really useful when dealing with climate change and looking for ways to help other plants survive.

Image credits: Yashina et al.

Moreover, as the Russian permafrost is now thawing, researchers will also be able to investigate the environment further to see what factors might have helped the seeds stay viable.

Image credits: Lisi Niesner

“I think mankind needs to be thankful for every piece of knowledge that we are able to create to protect our croplands,” says Professor Margit Laimer, a plant biotechnologist at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna.

Image credits: Yashina et al.

Let’s wish these scientists good luck and if anything interesting gets uncovered, we will be sure to keep you posted!

Image credits: Yashina et al.

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