Scientists Revive 46,000-Year-Old Nematodes From Siberian Permafrost


Tuesday, 01 August 2023 15:44:22


Grahame Jackson posted a new submission ‘Scientists Revive 46,000-Year-Old Nematodes From Siberian Permafrost’


Scientists Revive 46,000-Year-Old Nematodes From Siberian Permafrost



Scientists discovered ancient nematodes in the Siberian Permafrost, one of which was identified as a previously undescribed species, Panagrolaimus kolymaensis. The nematodes demonstrated similar survival mechanisms to the model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. The research indicates that nematodes have developed ways to preserve life over geological time periods, potentially informing conservation strategies in the face of global warming. Credit: Alexei V. Tchesunov and Anastasia Shatilovich / Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science RAS

An international research team shows that a newly discovered nematode species from the Pleistocene share a molecular toolkit for survival with the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.

Some organisms, such as tardigrades, rotifers, and nematodes, can survive harsh conditions by entering a dormant state known as “cryptobiosis.” In 2018, researchers from the Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science RAS in Russia found two roundworms (nematode) species in the Siberian Permafrost. Radiocarbon dating indicated that the nematode individuals have remained in cryptobiosis since the late Pleistocene, about 46,000 years ago.

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) in Dresden, the Center for Systems Biology Dresden (CSBD), and the Institute of Zoology at the University of Cologne, all located in Germany, used genome sequencing, assembly, and phylogenetic analysis and found that the permafrost nematode belongs to a previously undescribed species, Panagrolaimus kolymaensis. They showed that the biochemical mechanisms employed by Panagrolaimus kolymaensis to survive desiccation and freezing under laboratory conditions are similar to those of a life-cycle stage in the important biological model Caenorhabditis elegant.

P. kolymaensis, female. Scanning electron picture. Credit: Alexei V. Tchesunov and Anastasia Shatilovich / Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science RAS

Revival and Initial Investigation of the Nematodes

When Anastasia Shatilovich at the Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science RAS in Russia revived two frozen individual nematodes from a fossilized burrow in silt deposits in the Siberian permafrost, she and her colleagues were beyond excited. After thawing the worms in the lab, a radiocarbon analysis of plant material from the burrow revealed that these frozen deposits, 40 meters below the surface, had not thawed since the late Pleistocene, between 45,839 and 47,769 years ago.

At the same time, the research group of Teymuras Kurzchalia at the MPI-CBG (Teymuras Kurzchalia is now retired) was already addressing the question of how larval stages of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans survive extreme conditions. When the team heard about the permafrost nematodes, they immediately reached out for a collaboration with Anastasia Shatilovich.

Collaboration and Further Research

Vamshidhar Gade, a doctoral student at that time in the research group of Teymuras Kurzchalia, started to work with the permafrost nematodes. “What molecular and metabolic pathways these cryptobiotic organisms use and how long they would be able to suspend life are not fully understood,” he says. Vamshidhar is now working at the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland.

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FAO: Plan For Ambitious Climate Strategy


Plan aims to help accelerate climate action across all FAO areas of work


FAO’s climate strategy envisages agrifood systems as sustainable, inclusive, resilient and adaptive to climate change. (Photo: FAO)

ROME — The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has launched an Action Plan designed to support the implementation of its ambitious Strategy on Climate Change 2022-2031.

The Strategy, which was endorsed in June 2022 by FAO’s executive body, the Council, envisages agrifood systems as sustainable, inclusive, resilient and adaptive to climate change.

Global agrifood systems, which encompass the production of food and non-food agricultural products, as well as their storage, transportation, processing, distribution, marketing, disposal and consumption, are currently responsible for about a third of total greenhouse gas emissions. They are also one of the major victims of the climate crisis. But agrifood systems also offer many solutions for confronting the climate crisis, from building resilience and adaptation to mitigation and sequestration.

The Strategy aims to scale up the visibility, uptake and investment in these solution by contributing to adaptive, resilient low-emission economies “while providing sufficient, safe and nutritious foods for healthy diets, as well as other agricultural products and services, for present and future generations, leaving no one behind.

Crucially, it recognizes that the time to act is now.

To guarantee the successful and timely implementation of the Strategy, FAO has developed an Action Plan based on discussions with its FAO Members, so as to ensure that it reflects their needs and priorities as closely as possible.

“FAO’s Strategy on Climate Change is our response to the worldwide challenge of tackling the impacts of the climate crisis, while aiming to address a broad range of interlinked challenges, including biodiversity loss, desertification, land and environmental degradation, the need for accessible, affordable renewable energy, and food and water security,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu. “This Action Plan will help implement agrifood system solutions to climate change from across all FAO areas of work, ensuring we are working as one FAO.”

Three pillars

The Action Plan is based on three pillars: 1) advocacy at global and regional levels;  2) policy support at country level;  3) the scaling-up of climate action on the ground with local actors and vulnerable populations.

As far as the first pillar is concerned, FAO is already stepping up its advocacy efforts in global fora. For example, FAO was recognized as a strategic partner of the COP27 Presidency, supported the agricultural track of the climate negotiations and hosted a Food and Agriculture pavilion for the first time at the Climate Change Conference held in Sharm el-Sheikh in November 2022. This momentum and collaboration is set to continue with the Presidency of the United Arab Emirates.

In terms of policy support to FAO Members, the Plan aims to intensify support in the elaboration and implementation of climate commitments, in particular the National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), and nationally determined contributions (NDCs). FAO is active in this area with its Scaling up Climate Ambition on Land Use and Agriculture through nationally determined contributions and National Adaptation Plans (SCALA) programme, which is currently active in 12 countries spread across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

For instance, in Nepal, a country with limited institutional capacity for addressing issues associated with climate change, the SCALA Programme is bringing added value and technical expertise in achieving the country’s goals for more resilient agriculture systems and sustainable agriculture and land use practices.

The third pillar seeks to bring about a stronger involvement by local stakeholders, with a particular focus on vulnerable groups, such as women and Indigenous People, towards the identification, co-development, and adoption of good practices that will ensure a greater food security, better livelihoods, as well as address climate change, biodiversity loss, and land degradation.

One example of where FAO is working on this is through its Strengthening Agricultural Adaptation (SAGA) projects, which aims to reinforce adaptation planning for food security and nutrition in two Francophone countries particularly vulnerable to climate change: Haiti and Senegal.

The Plan associates a series of concrete outputs to all the outcomes and pillars that were endorsed in the Strategy and covers the period 2022-2025, allowing for a mid-term review of its implementation.


Australia: Papaya mealybug confirmed in Northern Territory


Wednesday, 26 July 2023 08:31:15


Grahame Jackson posted a new submission ‘Papaya mealybug confirmed in Northern Territory’


Papaya mealybug confirmed in Northern Territory

Mirage News

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade has increased plant surveillance after a confirmed sample of the papaya mealybug was found in the Darwin region.

The suspected Paracoccus marginatus was discovered after the Plant Biosecurity team received a call from a concerned resident in Parap last week, who identified a cluster of white coloured insects on their papaya plants.

There are many species of mealybug including a native Australian species which can appear to be similar in appearance. To confirm whether the retrieved sample was Paracoccus marginatus, the insects were subject to further testing, which subsequently came back positive this week.

Additional surveillance has since identified infestations at residential properties in Parap, the Narrows and Winnellie.

The papaya mealybug appears as a cluster of white ‘cotton-like’ mass, usually found on the fruit or underside of the leaves of affected plants.

Although the papaya mealybug does not pose a threat to humans or animals, affected plants may appear deformed, wilted and the papaya fruit likely to remain hard and bitter, with the papaya, hibiscus and frangipani species particularly susceptible.

Surveillance and testing has been ramped up across the Top End. The Plant Biosecurity team will continue surveillance activities and the public is requested to not move suspected infected plants, plant cutting or fruit from their gardens.

The team will work closely with residents and industry during the surveillance period.

Residents of the Darwin region are advised to check plants on their properties and report anything unusual to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

During this time, the public are requested to not take cuttings from plants such as hibiscus, frangipani and papaya and to refrain from purchasing plants from uncertified sources.

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