Doomsday vault gets 25,000 new seeds
Amaranth, fava beans get 'backed up' in Norway's Arctic seed bank
The Associated Press
Posted: Feb 28, 2012 12:21 PM ET
Last Updated: Feb 28, 2012 1:59 PM ET
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.
1st seeds from Armenia and Tajikistan
Samples shipped this year also included wheat from a range of climates and conditions in Armenia and the Pamir mountains of Tajikistan — the first seeds from the two former Soviet republics.
Wild crops — ancient relatives of domesticated crops — are of particular interest because of their resilience to harsh climatic conditions.
"They are very tough — they have to be to survive," Fowler said. "They have traits such as drought tolerance or ability to withstand pest and disease, which we think will be very valuable in the future in breeding climate-ready varieties."
The U.S. seed bank is the biggest national contributor to the Svalbard vault. This year it is sending 12,801 samples, including amaranth, once a nutritious grain for Aztecs and Incas; and subspecies of barley that took root in the U.S. Pacific Northwest after being imported from Poland in 1938.
Top News Headlines
- Neil Macdonald: Harper no Obama when it comes to dealing with scandals
- Court freezes assets in widening SNC-Lavalin probe
- Needed: New approaches to defuse 'suicide contagion' among teens
- 2nd suspect in Tim Bosma case in court today on murder charge
Latest Technology & Science News Headlines
- Arctic bacteria discovered breeding at record –15 C
- Bacteria that can live and multiply in High Arctic permafrost at temperatures well below the freezing point of water have been discovered by a Canadian-led team of researchers, offering clues about the types of organisms that might exist in similar extreme environments elsewhere in our solar system. more »
- Video forensics: How easy would it be to fake a Rob Ford video?
- Two media outlets reported last week that they had seen a cellphone video of Mayor Rob Ford allegedly smoking crack, a claim that has gone global. If a video does surface, how easy would it be to determine its authenticity? CBC News asked video forensic analyst David McKay. more »
- Internet bill would unlock personal details, says watchdog
- The Harper government's recent bid to give police more information about Internet users would have unlocked numerous revealing personal details — from web-surfing habits to names of friends, says a new study by the federal privacy watchdog. more »
- Xbox One: A closer look
- The design, performance, Kinect camera, controller, requirements and limitations of Microsoft's Xbox One get a critical look. more »
- How the weather info that storm chasers use can keep you safe
- Radar imagery and a stream of weather information are readily available to the public when severe weather bears down. more »
Bob McDonald's Blog
- Chris Hadfield: The gravity of gravity May. 17, 2013 9:58 AM After five months of being Superman and a media superstar, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is now beginning the challenging task of adapting his mortal body and brain to life back on Earth.
Quirks & Quarks
- May 25: The Origin of Feces May. 22, 2013 11:36 AM Cow pies, scat, droppings, guano, dung, manure, night soil, poop, fecal matter, sh*t. Call it what you may, excrement plays a crucial role in evolution, culture and the environment.
- 2nd suspect named in Tim Bosma slaying
- Killing near London barracks probed as 'terror' act
- Senators' Alfredsson on defeating Penguins: 'Probably not'
- Rob Ford fired as Don Bosco Eagles football coach
- Harper 'not consulted' about Duffy Senate expense repayment
- 1.3 million Montrealers face boil water advisory
- Xbox One: A closer look
- Plumber's car explodes near Vancouver apartments
- 'You will see him again in heaven,' Sharlene Bosma tells daughter