Nearly 500 years after forming in their parent plant, lotus seeds from a Chinese lakebed have sprouted seedlings of their own, researchers say. According to the lead author of a study detailing the findings, published in the current issue of the American Journal of Botany, the cultivation of offspring from seeds this ancient is "a first in plant biology."
Biologist Jane Shen-Miller of the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues collected 20 ancient lotus seeds on a trip to Chinas Liaoning Province. Radiocarbon dated at between 200 and 500 years old, the four seeds that the team tested for viability all sent up shoots. But the plants have not fully escaped the effects of time: all exhibit abnormalities in their leaves, stalks and underground stems. "Instead of standing up straight with strong leaves, these were smaller, the leaves were weak and bent, displayed abnormalities in color, and the underground stems were small and not getting enough food," Shen-Miller reports. The culprit, she surmises, is long-term, low-dose radiation from the soils in which the seeds resided. (The lotus pictured at the right did not arise from the seeds discussed here.)
Still, the radiation exposure does not appear to have hampered germination. "The lotus is so robust that it can sprout after centuries of exposure to low-dose gamma radiation," Shen-Miller observes. "We need to learn about its repair mechanisms, and about its biochemical, physiological and molecular properties. The repair mechanisms in the lotus would be very useful if they could be transferred to crops, such as rice, corn and wheat, whose seeds have lifespans of only a few years."
Kate Wong | Scientific American
‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für marine Mikrobiologie
Calcium Induces Chronic Lung Infections
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
24.10.2016 | Life Sciences
24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy