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Global Seed Bank

March 17, 2008

A new global seed vault will safeguard food crops from around the world.


A back-up plan for the world’s crops. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Across the globe, seed banks safeguard the diversity of regional food crops. But sometimes, these are destroyed by natural disasters, accidents or even war. That’s where the new Global Seed Vault comes in, according to Cary Fowler, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust.

CARY FOWLER (Global Crop Diversity Trust):
Rather than having those situations cause extinction as they have in the past, we wanted to build a very safe facility that would guard against that and conserve this diversity because we know agriculture depends on it.

The vault recently opened with over 100 million seeds, representing food crops from over a hundred countries. It’s located deep within a mountain on the remote Norwegian island of Svalbard in the high Arctic. Some of the dried and frozen seeds could last for thousands of years in the frozen vault. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.