Russian scientists have made an astonishing breakthrough in permafrost research.
An example of the delicate Arctic flower Silene stenophylla, commonly known as a narrow-leafed Campion, has been germinated from an Ice Age seed dating back more than 3,000 years.
It was found in an ancient frozen nest of Arctic ground squirrels in Siberian permafrost more than 30 metres underground.
Scientist Svetlana Yashina from the Pushchino Institute of Cell Biophysics explained how she realised the seed, which has a small frozen shoot, was not dead: “When we began preparations to take photographs and used lights, I noticed that the shoot began to acquire some colour and it turned out that the leaves were growing.”
It proves that permafrost is a natural depository for tissue and can conserve it for tens of thousands of years, opening the way, so say the scientists, to the possible resurrection of Ice Age mammals.
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