Feeds

Squirrelled away: seeds survive 30,000-year winter

Russian permafrost yields up a secret

New hybrid storage solutions

About 30,000 years ago, a squirrel saved some fruits in a burrow that was frozen over, and stayed that way ever since. Now, Russian scientists have not only recovered the seeds – they’ve grown viable plants from them.

According to Discovery, the fruits survived at a depth of 38 meters (125 feet), at -7°C until they were unearthed by David Gilichinsky’s team.

Gilichinsky, of the Cryosol Working Group (which specializes in soil sciences and permafrost), led the team, while the plants were grown by Svetlana Yashina of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Interestingly, while the long, dry freeze protected the seeds, they were also exposed to a huge dose of radiation over their 300-century doze – about 70 Grays in total.

The scientists point out that Earth’s huge permafrost areas probably represent a vast seed bank that could yield information about how life evolved. There is also strong scientific interest in maintaining ancient seeds in case genetic material lost by selective breeding over the years is needed again.

The work is to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.