18 Mar 2019

Alive and Growing: Pleistoscene Ancestor of Modern Arctic Plant

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32,000 yrs ago an Arctic ground squirrel cached some fruit in its burrow, which was later sealed by sediment & frozen. In the 2000s scientists unearthed the fruit & cultivated its tissue. It grew into this: a Pleistocene ancestor of the narrow-leafed campion (Silene stenophylla)

Some of the excavated squirrel burrows contained *hundreds of thousands* of ancient fruit & seeds. All that genetic information—the ungerminated generations, the apparitions of Ice Age Earth—frozen in time & place, preserving the possibility of resurrection.

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I Like Coelacanths | Adaptive Curmudgeon

[…] I could go on forever but I’ll stop with a new one I just learned about. This is “a Pleistocene ancestor of the narrow-leafed campion (Silene stenophylla)”. It came about from DNA some clever dude extracted from a seed found in a 32,000 yr old squirrel cache. Seeds are good at persisting and permafrost is good at preserving seeds. End result? The dude got enough DNA to do what needed doing. He cloned it in a modern seed, grew it, and viola… a thing that’s been extinct is now growing in a pot. How cool is that? (Hat tip to Never Yet Melted.) […]



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