Feeds

Squirrelled away: seeds survive 30,000-year winter

Russian permafrost yields up a secret

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.
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.