Monday, 12 May 2014 17:56

Tree of Hippocrates

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The celebrated Tree of Hippocrates has a new life on the National Institutes of Health campus and a new place in 21st century science.

A Tree of Hippocrates clone was planted in front of the National Library of Medicine on April 25, 2014. And the first gene sequence of the tree, which can be used for scientific research, was unveiled during the dedication ceremony.

According to legend Hippocrates, regarded the father of modern medicine, taught students under a tree on the Greek island of Cos. When the library was dedicated in 1961, the Greek ambassador presented NLM with a cutting from a descendant of the Cos tree. The tree was planted the following spring. In the 1980s, NIH landscape architect Lynn Mueller detected signs of deterioration from weather and a fungal disease. He spent decades trying to restore the tree’s health while also exploring the possibility of a clone. He eventually connected with the Champion Tree Project, now the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive. Using cuttings from the gift tree, Archangel produced the clone that was planted. It replaces the gift tree which never recovered and was removed last year.

"The National Library of Medicine and this tree grew up together," said NLM Director Donald A.B. Lindberg, MD. "My thanks go to the NIH and the people who looked after this tree and anticipated the need for cloning."

Read 2783 times Last modified on Thursday, 15 May 2014 18:55
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