Does this bacteria hold the key to the 'fountain of youth'? 3.5-million-year-old Siberian specimen boosts longevity and the immune system
- 3.5 million year old Bacillus F could improve longevity of humans
- Experts have unlocked its DNA and are testing it on mice and human cells
- Bacteria was found in 2009 embedded in ancient permafrost in Yakutia
Man has long dreamed of a mythical potion known as the 'elixir of life' which grants a drinker eternal youth.
Now Russian scientists claim to be making progress in adapting a 3.5 million year old 'eternal' bacteria named Bacillus F to improve the longevity of humans.
They revealed that they have unlocked the DNA of this cold-immune 'scientific sensation' and are now seeking to understand the genes which have allowed its extraordinary survival in the Siberian permafrost.
Russian scientists claim to be making progress in adapting an 'eternal' bacteria called Bacillus F (pictured) to improve the longevity of humans. The bacteria, found in permafrost, is thought to be 3.5 million years old
Tests on living organisms, notably human blood cells, mice, fruit flies and crops, all show a positive impact.
Professor Sergey Petrov, chief researcher at Tyumen Scientific Centre, said: 'In all these experiments, Bacillus F stimulated the growth and also strengthened the immune system.
'The experiments on human erythrocytes and leucocytes were also very optimistic.'
The bacteria was discovered in 2009 by Dr Anatoli Brouchkov, head of the Geocryology Department of Moscow State University.
They revealed they have unlocked the DNA of the bacteria and are now seeking to understand the genes which have allowed its survival in the Siberian permafrost. An image of the bacteria in a test tube is shown
It was embedded in ancient permafrost at a site known as Mammoth Mountain in the Sakha Republic, also known as Yakutia, the largest region in Siberia.
Similar bacteria were discovered by Siberian scientist Vladimir Repin in the brain of an extinct woolly mammoth preserved by permafrost.
'We did a lot of experiments on mice and fruit flies and we saw the sustainable impact of our bacteria on their longevity and fertility,' said Dr Brouchkov. 'But we do not know yet exactly how it works.'
For now 'we cannot understand the mechanism, but we see the impact'.
The bacteria was first discovered six years ago in ancient permafrost at a site known as Ulakhan Suullur (Mammoth Mountain) in the Sakha Republic, also known as Yakutia, which is the largest region in Siberia
Tests on living organisms, notably human blood cells, mice (pictured left), fruit flies and crops (right), all show a positive impact, the researchers said, but more work is needed before to explore its raw power
The bacteria, seen as a potential elixir of life, was found in 2009 in ancient permafrost in Yakutia, Siberia - an area known for its ancient mummified remains. An image of the landscape in the north west of Russia is shown
'WORLD'S OLDEST MUMMIFIED DOG' FOUND IN YAKUTIA
Sensational images recently emerged of the remains of a perfectly-preserved mummified puppy, found sealed in the Siberian permafrost after more than 12,400 years.
Taken during a post-mortem examination by scientists, they show incredible detail about the prehistoric beast including its fur, savage teeth and even what it ate during its last moments.
The dog - believed to be a three-month-old female - was unearthed by accident by two brothers searching for woolly mammoth tusks in the Sakha Republic, also known as Yakutia.
It is the only naturally mummified canine ever found in the world, and is so well preserved even its internal organs and the contents of its stomach were visible.
The autopsy took place at the Institute of Medicine within the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk and experts said the results will 'greatly help' the research of ancient dog species, reported The Siberian Times.
The mummified remains were found in 2011 by brothers Yuri and Igor Gorokhov who were looking for signs of woolly mammoths near their home town of Tumat.
The 'Turmat Dog' was dated to be 12,450 years old.
Scientists spent four years studying and DNA-testing the remains, which were kept in a freezer, and it was in April that a post-mortem was eventually carried out - with details only now emerging.
During the examination, it was discovered much of the animal's insides were perfectly preserved, including its heart, liver, lungs and part of the intestine.
The dog's stomach was also intact and when it was opened, the experts found two pieces of twig measuring about 0.4 inches (one centimetre) in length.
It led to a theory that the puppy fell to its death in a landslide and desperately attempted to grab onto nearby foliage with its teeth on the way down.
Epidemiologist Dr Viktor Chernyavsky said: 'The bacteria gives out biologically active substances throughout its life, which activates the immune status of experimental animals.'
Calling it a 'scientific sensation,' he said 'mice grannies not only began to dance, but also produced offspring'.
In future, the bacteria could improve the health of humans, leading to the discovery of an 'elixir of life', he said.
Another bacteria found in the permafrost allegedly has the ability to 'destroy petroleum molecules, turning them into water with the potential one day to create a new system for cleaning up oil spills,' The Siberian Times reported.
'A third strain of ancient bacteria is capable of eliminating cellulose molecules.'
Dr Brouchkov said: 'We want to understand the mechanisms of the protection of genome, the functioning of the genes.
'The key question is what provides the vitality of this bacteria, but it is as complicated as which human genes are responsible for cancer and how to cure it.
The scale and complicity of the question are nearly the same.'
He said the permafrost where the bacteria was found is estimated to be around 3.5 million years old.
'This bacteria was isolated from the outer world in ice, so we are quite sure that this bacteria was kept in the permafrost for such a long time.
'Yet we are still working to prove this.'
He claimed: 'I would say, there exist (in the world) immortal bacteria, immortal beings. They cannot die, to more precise, they can protect themselves.
'Our cells are unable to protect themselves from damage.
'These bacteria cells are able to protect themselves.
'It would be great to find the mechanisms of protection from ageing, from damage and to use them to fight with our ageing.
'It's is the main riddle of mankind and I believe we must work to solve it.
'Now we have a key, ancient bacteria, which scientists have found in an extreme and ancient environment.'
Professor Petrov said that experiments show the bacteria 'stimulates the growth of crops, increases productivity'.
Frost resistance is also significantly improved, he added.
In future, the bacteria (pictured) could improve the health of humans, leading to the discovery of an 'elixir of life', Dr Viktor Chernyavsky said. Another bacteria allegedly has the ability to 'destroy petroleum molecules, turning them into water with the potential one day to create a new system for cleaning up oil spills
The epidemiologist behind the study, Dr Viktor Chernyavsky (pictured) said: 'The bacteria gives out biologically active substances throughout its life, which activates the immune status of experimental animals'