Archive for February 2012

Russian Scientists Revive Ice Age Plant   Leave a comment

February 20, 2012:It was an Ice Age squirrel’s treasure chamber, a burrow containing fruit and seeds that had been stuck in the Siberian permafrost for over 30,000 years. From the fruit tissues, a team of Russian scientists managed to resurrect an entire plant in a pioneering experiment that paves the way for the revival of other species.

The Silene stenophylla is the oldest plant ever to be regenerated, the researchers said, and it is fertile, producing white flowers and viable seeds.

The experiment proves that permafrost serves as a natural depository for ancient life forms, said the Russian researchers, who published their findings in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” of the United States.

“We consider it essential to continue permafrost studies in search of an ancient genetic pool, that of pre-existing life, which hypothetically has long since vanished from the earth’s surface,” the scientists said in the article.

Canadian researchers had earlier regenerated some significantly younger plants from seeds found in burrows.

Svetlana Yashina of the Institute of Cell Biophysics of the Russian Academy Of Sciences, who led the regeneration effort, said the revived plant looked very similar to its modern version, which still grows in the same area in northeastern Siberia.

“It’s a very viable plant, and it adapts really well,” she said in a telephone interview from the Russian town of Pushchino where her lab is located.

She voiced hope the team could continue its work and regenerate more plant species.

The Russian research team recovered the fruit after investigating dozens of fossil burrows hidden in ice deposits on the right bank of the lower Kolyma River in northeastern Siberia, the sediments dating back 30,000-32,000 years.

The sediments were firmly cemented together and often totally filled with ice, making any water infiltration impossible — creating a natural freezing chamber fully isolated from the surface.

“The squirrels dug the frozen ground to build their burrows, which are about the size of a soccer ball, putting in hay first and then animal fur for a perfect storage chamber,” said Stanislav Gubin, one of the authors of the study, who spent years rummaging through the area for squirrel burrows. “It’s a natural cryobank.”

The burrows were located 125 feet (38 meters) below the present surface in layers containing bones of large mammals, such as mammoth, wooly rhinoceros, bison, horse and deer.

Gubin said the study has demonstrated that tissue can survive ice conservation for tens of thousands of years, opening the way to the possible resurrection of Ice Age mammals.

“If we are lucky, we can find some frozen squirrel tissue,” said Gubin. “And this path could lead us all the way to mammoth.”

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Azerbaijan to Build World’s Tallest Building   Leave a comment

Azerbaijan plans to build what is expected to be the tallest skyscraper in the world. The proposed site is a man-made island in the Caspian Sea.

The 1050-meter tall ‘Azerbaijan Tower’ will be 220 meters taller than the world’s current tallest building, Burj Khalifa, located in the United Arab Emirates.

The construction of the Azerbaijan Tower is scheduled to begin in 2015.

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RADA conducts due diligence and business intelligence investigations in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Romania, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Russia Will Study Arab League Proposal For Syria   Leave a comment

February 13, 2012: Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, stated that an Arab League proposal for a joint peacekeeping mission in Syria with the United Nations would be studied, while China refused to give a clear position on the proposal.

Lavrov said Monday that a cease-fire would have to be declared before any such mission could be deployed.

“We should first have peace, which would be supported,” Lavrov said at a news conference in Moscow with United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheik Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

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RADA conducts due diligence and business intelligence investigations in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Romania, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Posted February 13, 2012 by RADA LLC in arab league, lavrov, russia, sergei lavrov, syria

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Antarctica: The Final Frontier?   Leave a comment

Moscow, January 5 2012: A Russian team has succeeded in drilling through four kilometres (2.5 miles) of ice to the surface of a mythical subglacial Antarctic lake which could hold as yet unknown life forms.

Lake Vostok is the largest subglacial lake in Antarctica and scientists want to study its eco-system which has been isolated for hundreds of thousands of years under the ice in the hope of finding previously unknown microbiological life forms.

Sergei Lesenkov, spokesman for the Arctic and Antarctic Scientific Research Institute, told AFP in Moscow that there was the possibility of a “fundamental scientific development”.

Lesenkov said that analysis of the composition of gas bubbles discovered in the ice above the lake could help climate change research.

“Because the lower layer was formed 400,000 years ago, from the composition of the gas it is possible to judge the gas composition in the atmosphere 400,000 years ago and during the time that has passed since the formation of the lake,” he said.

“From there, it is possible to identify and forecast certain climatic changes in the future. This is very important.”

No official announcement of the breakthrough has been made, although sources said that this was expected to come from the government.

“If it is true and it’s successful, it’s a milestone that’s been completed. This is a major achievement for the Russians because they’ve been working on it for years,” Professor Martin Siegert, head of the school of geosciences at the University of Edinburgh, told AFP.

He said that exploring environments such as Lake Vostok would allow scientists to discover what life forms can exist in the most extreme conditions and thus whether life could exist on some other bodies in the solar system.

There has long been excitement among some scientists that life theoretically could exist on Saturn’s moon Enceladus and the Jupiter moon Europa as they are believed to have oceans, or large lakes, beneath their icy shells.

Valerie Massson-Delmotte of the climate and environment laboratory at the French Atomic Energy Commission, said Lake Vostok was of particular interest as it had been formed over the course of 400,000 years.

“There is also a strong interest from biologists to study the forms of life that could exist in these extreme conditions which have been separated from the rest of the world environment for several million years,” she said.

The possibility that the lake existed had first been suggested by a Soviet scientist in 1957. Scientific research drilling in the area started in 1989 and the lake’s existence was confirmed only in 1996.

But efforts to reach its surface were suspended two years later amid fears that the process could contaminate the waters.

After developing new techniques in an attempt to ease environmental concerns, attempts to drill down through the deep ice sheet to the lake’s surface resumed.

The Russian researchers intend to start drilling again and obtain water samples from the lake for analysis in December after a ten-month break due to harsh weather conditions.

The hidden lakes of the Antarctic are seen as one of the final frontiers in exploring the Earth and several teams from other nations are also engaged in similar projects.

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RADA conducts due diligence and business intelligence investigations in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Romania, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Posted February 6, 2012 by RADA LLC in antarctica, russia

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