‘Doomsday’ Seed Vault Picks Up New Samples

A light gray structure - the entrance to the vault - protrudes from the dark gray floor of Svalbard.

The entrance to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Spitsbergen in September 2021.
Photo: OLIVIER MORIN/AFP (Getty Images)

A remote seed bank on the Arctic island of Spitsbergen is receiving new deposits this week from genebanks in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania. NOTnicknamed the ‘Doomsday Vault,‘ the depot is only open a few times a year for seed collection and deposit; it will be sealed again on February 18.

Containing over 1.1 million seed samples from 5,400 different plant species, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a major means of conserving the genetic diversity of crops. The vault stores reflect cultures on which humanity is most dependent: This has over 150,000 strains of wheat and rice and over 80,000 types of barley. The box can contain up to 4.5 million samples.

The genebanks involved in this week’s activity come from Sudan, Uganda, New Zealand, Germany and Lebanon, according to Reuters. The Lebanon-based group is the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Arid Zones, the organization that carried out the first removal from the vault in 2015. Previously, the organization was based in Syria, where some of its collections were damaged during the country’s civil war. , forcing the group to tap into the Arctic vault stores. The organization will deposit approximately 8,000 seed samples.

“The fact that the seed collection destroyed in Syria during the civil war has been systematically rebuilt shows that the vault functions as an insurance for the current and future food supply and for local food security,” said Minister Anne Beathe Tvinnereim. Norwegian Agency for International Development. told Reuters.

In 2020, the safe received seeds from the Cherokee Nationwhere botanical doubles can be saved just in case Unpredictable weather conditions devastate Oklahoma local cultures.

“One of these monstrous storms would be enough to wipe out our community genebanks, so [the Svalbard Global Seed Vault] is a real safe for us,” Pat Gwinsenior director of environmental resources for the Cherokee Nation, told Earther at the time.

The vault will reopen twice this year, once from June 6-10 and another from October 24-27, according to the vault. website.

Bbeing stored in the cellar does not guarantee the preservation of the seeds. In 2017, warmer than normal temperatures caused a deluge near entrance tunnel. But like you may know if you have ever lost a password, having multiple copies of any the information is nevertheless useful.

More: The Problem With The Doomsday Seed Vault