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4,000-year-old lentil plants to be transplanted

Plants grown from 4,000-year-old lentil seeds found at a dig in turkey are set to be transplanted from the lab into the field.

Speaking to the press, Dr. Nüket Bingöl of the biology department at Dumlup?nar University said the lentils, which were found in the Seyitömer district during a dig by the university’s archaeology department, were germinated four months ago using a tissue culture method. “We have in hand 17 [plants grown from the] 4,000-year-old lentils,” he said. “Now we’re going to plant our sprouts in the field and try to get seeds from them. … Our plants are living in a sterile environment, but we don’t know what will happen when they’re planted in the field.”

Bingöl stated that Dumlup?nar was working in cooperation with other Turkish universities on this project and that they planned to conduct DNA analyses and other scientific evaluations of the lentil plants as they grew, seeing a critical opportunity to analyze the characteristics of plants from millennia ago. The seeds found at the Seyitömer site will pave the way for further research in the field of genetically modified foods and the organic food movement, as scientists say the seeds display morphological differences from the lentil plants of today. An archaeological team from Dumlup?nar University had found a container holding seeds during an excavation in Seyitömer. While many were burned and useless, three of them were not and formed the basis for the current project.

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