Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Syrian Seeds Make It To Posterity Before The Missiles Fly

Arctic doomsday vault grows a few seeds bigger

"Chick peas, fava beans and other seeds from a facility in Syria are among the 25,000 new samples being deposited this week in an Arctic seed vault built to protect food crops from wars and natural disasters, officials said Tuesday.

The latest additions mean that the Svalbard Global Seed Vault -- a master backup to the world's other seed banks -- has now secured more than 740,000 samples since it opened in a remote Norwegian archipelago in 2008.

That represents an estimated three-quarters of the biological diversity of the world's major food crops, said Cary Fowler, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, which maintains the vault with Norway's government and the Nordic Genetic Resources Center.

With the shipment from the Syria-based International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, almost its entire collection is now backed up in Svalbard, Fowler told The Associated Press.

"I think the events unfolding in Syria obviously underline the importance of having safety duplication outside of a country," he said, adding the facility had not been damaged in the military crackdown on an anti-government uprising.

He noted that wars destroyed seed banks in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another one in Egypt was looted during last year's uprising.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault -- sometimes referred to as a doomsday vault -- is designed to withstand global warming, earthquakes and even nuclear strikes."
Cost of the War in Iraq
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