50000 new seeds deposited in Arctic Circle's Svalbard Global Seed Vault

Researchers in ICARDA's Beirut headquarters harvesting seeds to ship back to Svalbard

Researchers in ICARDA's Beirut headquarters harvesting seeds to ship back to Svalbard

Seed samples for some of the world's most vital food sources like the potato, sorghum, rice, barley, chickpea, lentil and wheat will be deposited at Svalbard in the coming days, bringing the total number of seed samples at the facility to 930,821. Despite being in such an extreme Northern area, it is still inhabited by both people and this doomsday vault.

The vault is created to safeguard the world's food sources from any variety of doomsday scenarios: nuclear war, climate change, natural disasters or even an asteroid strike.

The Doomsday Vault is one of the largest seed deposit which opened almost a decade ago.

Crop Trust is the charity organization helping to fund and manage the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which sits between mainland Norway and the North Pole and is operated by the Norwegian government. The vault was officially opened in 2008 and was built to last for 1,000 years.

The countries that contributed to reach the 50,000 new seeds include India, Benin, Pakistan, Morocco, Lebanon, United States, the Netherlands, Mexico, Belarus, Herzegovina, Bosnia and United Kingdom. Crop conservationTo support the Crop Trust's critical work at Svalbard and genebanks around the world, GoPro for a Cause, GoPro's program dedicated to impact storytelling for non-profit organizations, today launched a fundraising initiative and short documentary to help the Svalbard Seed Vault ensure ongoing crop conservation. "It is the final backup".

Marie Haga, executive director of the Crop Trust, said in the statement: "Today's seed deposit at Svalbard supported by the Crop Trust shows that despite political and economic differences in other arenas, collective efforts to conserve crop diversity and produce a global food supply for tomorrow continue to be strong".

"Crop diversity is a fundamental foundation for the end of hunger", she added.

The "Doomsday Vault" has received almost 50,000 new seed samples, one of the largest deposits since the repository opened almost 10 years ago.

Since the vault opened, 940,000 seed varieties have been deposited, among them wheat, barley, potatoes and nearly 150,000 varieties of rice. Now, the vault will be encasing 50,000 additional seeds all over the world.

Another thing that this seed vault does is to hold duplicate seeds for other seed collections from around the world. Regional gene banks exist to ensure that seed samples are available to farmers, researchers, and processors in accordance with worldwide regulations.

In the back corner of the freezing storage room, there is a little piece of Australia - a stack of bright blue boxes containing 11,000 seeds, the majority of them deposited in 2014 by the Australian Grains Genebank and the Australian Pastures Genebank.

"Crop samples stored inside Svalbard are selected because they're unique varieties of crops that are considered essential for future food security", explained a Crop Trust spokesperson to Gizmodo.

The seed vault helps countries today too - in 2015 a research center in Syria had to withdraw some seeds they'd stored as war plagued Aleppo, but they were recently able to return some of the seeds to the vault along with the rest of the recent deposit.

"We are demonstrating today that we can rely on our gene-banks and their safety duplications, despite adverse circumstances, so we can get one step closer to a food-secure world", Aly Abousabba, director general of ICARDA, said in the press release.

Even though the global seed vault in Norway is a fairly new project, it has already been proven to be useful and can only be more so in the case of any major doomsday scenario.

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