A living plant has been generated from the fruit of a little arctic flower, making it the oldest plant by far that has ever been grown from ancient tissue.
The field of ancient DNA has gained credibility as new technologies have allowed researchers to do things like reconstitute the Neandertal genome, Wade says. "The Russian researchers tried to germinate the campion seeds but failed. They then took cells from the placenta, the organ in the fruit that produces the seeds. They thawed out the cells and grew them in culture dishes into whole plants," he adds. "If the ancient campions are the ancestors of the living plants, this family relationship should be evident in their DNA. ... If the claim is true, then scientists should be able to study evolution in real time by comparing the ancient and living campions. Possibly other ancient species can be resurrected from the permafrost, including plants that have long been extinct."