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APECS is an international and interdisciplinary organization for undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, early faculty members, educators and others with interests in Polar Regions and the wider cryosphere. Our aims are to stimulate interdisciplinary and international research collaborations, and develop effective future leaders in polar research, education and outreach. We seek to achieve these aims by:
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The oldest plant ever to be regenerated has been grown from 32,000-year-old seeds—beating the previous recordholder by some 30,000 years. 

A Russian team discovered a seed cache of Silene stenophylla, a flowering plant native to Siberia, that had been buried by an Ice Age squirrel near the banks of the Kolyma River (map). Radiocarbon dating confirmed that the seeds were 32,000 years old.

The mature and immature seeds, which had been entirely encased in ice, were unearthed from 124 feet (38 meters) below the permafrost, surrounded by layers that included mammoth, bison, and woolly rhinoceros bones. The mature seeds had been damaged—perhaps by the squirrel itself, to prevent them from germinating in the burrow. But some of the immature seeds retained viable plant material.

The team extracted that tissue from the frozen seeds, placed it in vials, and successfully germinated the plants, according to a new study. The plants—identical to each other but with different flower shapes from modern S. stenophylla—grew, flowered, and, after a year, created seeds of their own.

"I can't see any intrinsic fault in the article," said botanist Peter Raven, President Emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden, who was not involved in the study. "Though it's such an extraordinary report that of course you'd want to repeat it." Raven is also head of National Geographic's Committee for Research and Exploration. 

Read the whole NG article 

The original article was published in PNAS

Featured Member

Ghent University, Belgium

APECS Belgium

After completing my master degree in Biology at the C atholic University of Leuven (Belgium), I started my PhD in 2009 on the AMBIO (Antarctic microbial biodiversity) project at Ghent University. In 2010 I obtained an IWT scholarship which focuses on the adaptation of drought and salinity stress in Antarctic filamentous cyanobacteria. To gain a better understanding of the genetic adaptation we want to perform a genome analysis. In addition we want to identify stress regulated genes through a transcriptome analysis under experimental induced salinity and drought stress and perform ecofysiological experiments to investigate local adaptation of salinity and droughtstress in filamentous cyanobacteria.

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