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Scientists revive worm after 46,000 years in Siberian permafrost


A worm that was frozen 46,000 years ago just came back to life!

 46,000 years old worm!

The roundworm from the time when woolly mammoths, saber-toothed tigers, and giant elks still existed was revived by scientists.

Teymuras Kurzchalia, professor emeritus at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden and one of the scientists included in the study, said the organism survived 40 meters, or around 131.2 feet, below the surface in the Siberian permafrost in a dormant state known as cryptobiosis.

He explained that organisms in such a state can endure a complete absence of water or oxygen, and can withstand high or freezing temperatures, or extremely salty conditions.

They remain in a state "between death and life," wherein their metabolic rates decrease to an undetectable level, he added.

Other organisms previously revived from this state survived for decades, Kurzchalia noted.

Scientists from the Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science in Russia five years ago found two roundworm species in the Siberian permafrost.

Researcher Anastasia Shatilovich revived two of the worms by rehydrating them with water, before taking around 100 worms to labs in Germany for further analysis.

Radiocarbon analysis of the plant material in the sample was then used to establish that the deposits had not been thawed between 45,839 and 47,769 years ago.

Genetic analysis conducted by scientists in Dresden and Cologne showed that these worms belonged to a novel species, which they named Panagrolaimus kolymaenis.

It was also discovered that the P. kolymaenis shared with C. elegans "a molecular toolkit" that could allow it to survive cryptobiosis. They produce a sugar called trehalose, possibly enabling them to endure freezing and dehydration.

Source: PLOS, Via: CNN

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