Thursday, April 2, 2015

2,000-Year-Old Seed Sprouts, Sapling Is Thriving -- John Roach

Rating: *****

Sarah Sallon - director of the Hadassah Medical Organization's Louis L. Borick Natural Medicine Research Center (NMRC) in Jerusalem - could be considered the Dr. Frankenstein of plantlife.  This article about her team’s findings provide insight into the resilience of the natural world, and can bring the reader to a much deeper respect for not only our environment, but also the biologists and researchers that devote their lives to the aiding of it.

In 1973, a team of excavators found several ancient date seeds in Masada, a historic mountainside fortress.  The seeds date back to activity in the area from A.D. 73 when Jewish Zealots took their own lives rather than surrender to the Romans after a two year siege.  Since then, the seeds had been sitting in a university drawer untouched until recently when Sallon asked if she could take some of them.  She and her colleagues cultivated the plants and reignited one of the seeds lives after 2,000 years and are now doing DNA tests on the new healthy and growing ancient plant.  Date plants have a known use of high medicinal value, even being recorded a decent time ago to be able to aid in curing things like cancer and tuberculosis.  Sallon and her team are now attempting to replicate the revival process they used on the other ancient seeds in hopes that they will for certain end up with a female plant - which would have the ability to produce the date plants’ fruit.

I, and everyone else I know for that matter, would consider me to be very much so almost a heretic in the regard of preserving wildlife, an advocate of nature activism if you will.  So it comes to no surprise really when I think about why this article jumped out at me.  Not only is this rejuvenation a spectacle, it bodes extremely well for that aforementioned preservation.  Being able to bring back plantlife that has gone extinct due to environment and habitat destruction caused by humans is an amazing prospect to say the least, and something I would not quite mind becoming learned in myself!  Furthermore, next year I’ll be going to Peru to volunteer in the field of jungle conservation, doing very similar biology-type work at a small facility in the Amazon, and I discovered this article while looking more into that.  Going into the field of wildlife biology has always been something that I have considered but never thought on too long because I suppose I’ve never actually taken notice of how brilliant a thing it really is.  For better or worse, this article has managed to get me questioning what I want to do with my life career-wise.  Maybe, just maybe, I’ll end up taking my volunteer work to the next level after my assignment and become practised in plant biology and use my knowledge to save the natural and human worlds alike - it’s a nice sounding fantasy at least.

Roach, J. “2,000-Year-Old Seed Sprouts, Sapling Is Thriving”. National Geographic. November 22, 2005. Web. Recovered: March 31, 2015.

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