Doomsday Seed Vault’s Birthday Brings 25,000 Presents | Biodiversity & Agriculture | LiveScience

Posted: April 15, 2012 in Art, Economy and Resources, Environment, Geography, Health, History, Human Rights, International, Politics, Region

With these additions the now four-year-old vault, formerly known as the Svaldbard Global Seed Vault, would house more than 740,000 samples in an Arctic mountain on the Svaldbard archipelago.

“Our crop diversity is constantly under threat, from dramatic dangers such as fires, political unrest, war and tornadoes, as well as the mundane, such as failing refrigeration systems and budget cuts. But these seeds are the future of our food supply, as they carry genetic treasure such as heat resistance, drought tolerance or disease and pest resistance,” Cary Fowler, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, one of the entities responsible for the vault, said in a news release. [Top 10 Ways to Destroy Earth]

The vault is intended to act as a backup for living crop collections around the world; a fire in January destroyed unique varieties of bananas, yams, sweet potatoes and taro being duplicated at the National Plant Genetic Resources Laboratory in the Philippines, according to the trust.

The new samples arriving for the vault’s birthday, include:

— Grains from Tajikistan’s Pamir Mountains, including wheat that grows across a wide range of elevations, in hot summers, and harsh, snowy winters. Diversity like this is important now because scientists are looking to develop a strain of wheat that is resistant to wheat stem rust, a fungal disease.

— A variety of wheat, known as Norin-10, which is the source of genes that have given modern wheat plants strong, short stems capable of supporting more grain, contributed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service.

via Doomsday Seed Vault’s Birthday Brings 25,000 Presents | Biodiversity & Agriculture | LiveScience.

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