Scientists successfully germinate 4,000-year-old lentil seed

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Ankara (Turkey), December 20 (ANI): Scientists have successfully sprouted a 4,000-year-old lentil seed that was unearthed in an archeological excavation, which might lead to invaluable data for comparisons between the organic and genetically engineered plants of today.

According to a report in Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review, project leader and Dumlupinar University archeology faculty Professor Nejat Bilgen said they found the seeds during an excavation undertaken last year in Kutahya province in Turkey.

Bilgen said that a layer from the container in which they found the seeds was determined to be from the middle bronze age.

He said his team found many seeds, but most had been burnt, adding that they had failed to make the others turn green before the recent success.

The excavation team believes they found a silo because there were many other containers around.

"A seed dug from underground and dating back approximately 4,000 years sprouted. The plant that came out of this seed is under examination and will be presented to the scientific community (so they can) make various analyses over it," Bilgen said.

Nukhet Bingol, an assistant professor from the same department, said that she planted one of the seeds last year but that it dried up after germinating, adding that she sent another to Istanbul for fat analyses.

Bingol said that she planted the present seed three months ago before it successfully germinated.

"Scientifically, we are still at the beginning," said Bingol, who explained that the age of the seed needs to be determined and compared to the lentils of today.

"Although (the seed) was found in an archeological excavation, we should prove it scientifically. We should look into whether those seeds came from outside (the container) or not," she said.

Bingol said the lentil is pretty weak - unlike its modern day versions - yet they hope it will be able to flower and produce seeds.

If that happens, according to Bingol, they would have extremely important data to compare with the organic and genetically engineered plants of today.

"It would be the first seed from very old times whose genetics were never modified," she said. (ANI)

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