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
Molecular Force Sensors
20.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Foster tadpoles trigger parental instinct in poison frogs
20.09.2017 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
20.09.2017 | Life Sciences
20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy