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Footage Information

ABCNEWS VideoSource
Middle East Palm - Israelis growing ancient date palm for medical research
06/14/2005
APTN
VSAP453067
NAME: MEAST PALM 140605N TAPE: EF05/0524 IN_TIME: 10:33:55:01 DURATION: 00:02:24:03 SOURCES: APTN DATELINE: Various, 14 June 2005/FILE RESTRICTIONS: SHOTLIST: Masada - File 1. View of Masada archaeological site Jerusalem - 14 June 2005 2. Various of STILLS of person holding four 2000 year old date seeds 3. STILL of new plant 4. Dr. Sara Sallon of the Louis Borick Natural Medicine Research Centre in the Hadassa hospital looking at pictures on computer 5. SOUNDBITE: (English) Dr. Sara Sallon, Doctor for Louis Borick Natural Medicine Research Centre: "And the radio fourteen dating of those two fragment in a whole seed, came back as a 1900 years - plus or minus a hundred. It actually came out as 65 of the common era, just about five years off the date of Masada." Southern Jordan Valley Recent - File 6. Sallon walking in date grove Jerusalem - 14 June 2005 7. SOUNDBITE: (English) Dr. Sara Sallon, Doctor for Louis Borick Natural Medicine Research Centre: "And about a week later she said, 'there's a green little tip coming out of the crack', and we were kind of 'what, what?' So I just said keep doing what ever your doing." Southern Jordan Valley Recent - File 8. Sallon walking into greenhouse 8. New date plant in greenhouse Jerusalem - 14 June 2005 10. SOUNDBITE: (English) Dr. Sara Sallon, Doctor for Louis Borick Natural Medicine Research Centre: "So you know, you talk about genetically modified food - this is kind of like historically modified food. This is a new date but it comes from ancient times maybe. So I kind of like that historically modified - its kind of interesting. So agriculturally, it may be very interesting as a food. Medicinally it may be very interesting as a medicine. Historically, of course it is fascinating to wake something up that has been asleep that long, and the whole area that this opens up, that if you can waken up a seed after 2000 years and get it to grow, there are a lot of possibilities in that area that we can also explore." Southern Jordan Valley Recent file 11. Close up of new plant 12. Wide of date grove 13. Close up of dates STORYLINE: Israeli researchers have germinated a sapling date palm from 2,000-year-old seeds, and claimed their research could lead to the discovery of new medicines that will benefit future generations. Sarah Sallon, of the Louis Borick Natural Medicine Research Centre in Jerusalem, said she and her colleagues used seeds found in archaeological excavations at Masada, the desert mountain fortress where ancient Jewish rebels chose suicide over capture by Roman legions in A.D. 73. She said they were the oldest seeds ever brought back to life. "It actually came out as 65 of the common era, just about five years off the date of Masada," she said. Carbon dating of a fragment from the Masada seeds put their age at between 1,940 and 2,040 years. The palm plant, nicknamed Methusaleh after the biblical figure said to have lived for 969 years, is now about 12 inches (30 centimetres) tall. Sallon and her colleagues have sent one of its leaves for DNA analysis in the hope that it may reveal medicinal qualities that have disappeared from modern cultivated varieties. The date palms now grown in Israel were imported from California and are of a strain originating in Iraq, she said. The Judean date prized in antiquity but extinct until Methusaleh's awakening, might have had very different properties to the modern variant. "If you can waken up a seed after 2000 years and get it to grow, there are a lot of possibilities in that area that we can also explore," Sallon said. She and her colleagues hope it may hold promise for the future, like the anti-malarial treatment artemisinin, developed out of traditional Chinese plant treatment, and a cancer medicine made from the bark of the Pacific Yew tree. Until the DNA test results arrive in the coming weeks, the Israelis are closely observing the plant's physical development. If the plant survives, it will take some 30 years to bear fruit, provided it turns out to be female. Sallon, however, said that even a male is very valuable.
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