Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ancient Seeds

File:JudeanDatePalmMethuselah.JPG
Judean date palm - wikipedia image.


Going through my old seeds always makes me think about various efforts at germinating ancient seeds.  I like to search on those efforts.

I don't recall reading this one before  -

4,000 year old lentil germinated in Turkey.  Turkish newspaper article.   "Bingöl said the lentil is pretty weak – unlike its modern day versions – yet they hope it will be able to flower and produce seeds."  then....  obscurity.  Did it grow?  Did the seed turn out not to be 4,000 years old?  Heirloom-organics article on the same seedling.  According to wikipedia, as of 2010 this was not confirmed and not reported in science literature.

There's the Judean Date Palm, which has now bloomed for the 3rd time.   The tree came from an archeological dig, carbon dated at 2,000 years old, and the cultivar is thought to have gone extinct in 500 AD.  The tree turned out to be male.  Genetic tests revealed the cultivar is similar to Iraqi and Eqyptian dates, so a hybrid could generate a new lineage, 50:50 first generation, 75:25 2nd generation, etc?  Not knowing palm genetics, I don't know.  It would be a slow process.  It will also be interesting to see if other seeds from the same or other caches could be revived and germinated.  The seed was germinated by Elaine Solowey, director of the experimental orchard - "First she soaked the seeds in hot water to make them once again able to absorb liquids. Then she soaked them in a solution of nutrients followed by an enzymatic fertilizer made from seaweed."

 I don't find much else about germinating ancient seeds, that I haven't already read. 

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