Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Growing A 30,000-Year-old Plant

Good for the squirrels of the Pleistocene – they buried seeds in the ground that were frozen for 30,000 years. And then recently dug up and re-planted in a greenhouse. And grew this plant:

“All of this is interesting not just because it’s amazing to regenerate a Pleistocene plant, which of course it is, but because the permafrost may be an important new gene pool. Other ancient squirrel burrows have been found in the Yukon territory and in Alaska. That’s interesting for pure research, but also because of what may happen as the planet warms and more permafrost regions thaw. Organisms will be released from their long, cold sleep, and these ancient life forms could become part of modern ecosystems, affecting modern phenotypes and changing the landscape.”

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