Russian scientists resurrect dead plants frozen for nearly 30,000 years

Russian scientists have succeeded in bringing back to life plants that stayed frozen dead for nearly 30,000 years in the Siberian region.

Sylene stenophyllaA team of Russian biophysicists at the Institute of Cell Biophysics has successfully regenerated the ancient plant species, Sylene stenophylla, using tissue material that stayed frozen in the Siberian region for an estimated 30,000 years.

The team, led by David Gilichinsky, found the remains of the Silene stenophylla family while studying squirrel hibernation burrows on the banks of the Kolyma river.

The scientists stuck upon an Ice Age squirrel's treasure chamber, a burrow containing fruit and seeds, in the Siberian permafrost. They extracted the so-called "placental tissue" from immature seeds that remained almost intact for millennia and put it in a special nutrient solution, which imitated a growing plant, a report published in `Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences', of the US said.

The tissue in petri dishes germinated into mature seeds and when planted in soil, grew into fully-blossoming plants.

The report said only subtle differences in the shape of petals and the sex of flowers could be found between the "resurrected" plants and the modern-day Silene stenophylla, which still grows in the Siberian tundra, Svetlana Yashina of the Institute of Cell Biophysics of the Russian Academy Of Sciences, who led the regeneration effort, said in the article.