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Awake after 42,000 years...nematodes.

Cryogenic Breakthrough: Worms Frozen in Permafrost for 42,000 Years Have Been Resuscitated!

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By The Siberian Times reporter

Two ancient nematodes are moving and eating again for the first time since the Pleistocene age in a major scientific breakthrough, say experts.

The roundworms from two areas of Siberia came back to life in Petri dishes, says a new scientific study. 

‘We have obtained the first data demonstrating the capability of multicellular organisms for long-term cryobiosis in permafrost deposits of the Arctic,’ states a report from Russian scientists from four institutions in collaboration with Princeton University.

Duvanny Yar, area of permafrost where one of the worms was gathered. (Image: Nikita Zimov)

Duvanny Yar, a rea of permafrost where one of the worms was gathered. (Image: Nikita Zimov)

Some 300 prehistoric worms were analyzed - and two ‘were shown to contain viable nematodes’.

‘After being defrosted, the nematodes showed signs of life,’ said a report today from Yakutia, the area where the worms were found.

‘They started moving and eating.’

The viable nematodes. (Image: Doklady Biological Sciences/Pleiades Publishing)

The viable nematodes. (Image: Doklady Biological Sciences/Pleiades Publishing )

One worm came from an ancient squirrel burrow in a permafrost wall of the Duvanny Yar outcrop in the lower reaches of the Kolyma River - close to the site of Pleistocene Park which is seeking to recreate the Arctic habitat of the extinct woolly mammoth, according to the scientific article published in Doklady Biological Sciences this week. 

This is around 32,000 years old.

Another was found in permafrost near Alazeya River in 2015, and is around 41,700 years old. 

Currently the nematodes are the oldest living animals on the planet.  

They are both believed to be female.

The worms came back to life in a laboratory at The Institute of Physico-Chemical and Biological Problems of Soil Science in Moscow region. 

The scientists say: “Our data demonstrate the ability of multicellular organisms to survive long-term (tens of thousands of years) cryobiosis under the conditions of natural cryoconservation. 

'It is obvious that this ability suggests that the Pleistocene nematodes have some adaptive mechanisms that may be of scientific and practical importance for the related fields of science, such as cryomedicine, cryobiology, and astrobiology.”

Specialists of the Institite of Psycico-Chemical and Biological Problems and Soil Science in Moscow region. (The Siberian Times)

Specialists of the Institite of Psycico-Chemical and Biological Problems and Soil Science in Moscow region. (The Siberian Times)

The Russian institutions involved in the pioneering research were: The Institute of Physico-Chemical and Biological Problems of Soil Science; Moscow State University; Pertsov White Sea Biological Station, part of Moscow State University; and the Higher School of Economics in Moscow.

The Department of Geosciences, Princeton University, was also involved. 

Top image: Awake after 42,000 years...nematodes.  Source: The Siberian Times

The article ‘ South Koreans kick off efforts to clone extinct Siberian cave lions ’ originally appeared on The Siberian Times and has been republished with permission. 

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