Feeds

Squirrelled away: seeds survive 30,000-year winter

Russian permafrost yields up a secret

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Saturn spotted spawning new FEMTO-MOON
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.