Scientists are trying to decode an ancient flower to understand why its seeds could hibernate for tens of thousands of years.
The 32,000-year-old flower of a flower scientifically named Silene stenophylla is buried under a squirrel cave at a depth of 20 to 40 meters near the banks of the Kolyma River in Siberia, in permafrost.
The team at the Russian Academy of Sciences then extracted the oocyte tissue from the frozen seeds and raised them with a mixture of various nutrients. Under controlled temperature and light, tissues germinate, take root and grow into plants inside a greenhouse.
At the University of Natural Sciences and Life Sciences in Vienna, Austria, Professor Margit Laimer and her colleagues are researching ways to sequence the genome and sequence the DNA of this ancient plant. They wanted to know what makes its genome special and how its components work together. The ultimate goal is to find the conditions that allow the seeds to hibernate for tens of thousands of years.
“Plants also change and adapt to their environment. We hope that we can find genetic changes that will help plants adapt to very dry, very cold or very hot conditions. Hey, we can find a way to improve the varieties, ”Laimer said.
Silene stenophylla is classified in the carnation family. This white flowering plant grows in the arctic tundra and mountains of northern Japan. They are only 5 to 15 cm tall, with narrow leaves and large sepals.