The ‘doomsday vault’ is getting more attention and love to save seeds. They’ve created a new, expanded, goal to save 100,000 seeds. This is good news because having a well-kept seed bank to preserve biodiversity can prove invaluable if some of the plants die out or are struck by a horrible disease. THink of it has a global insurance policy on plants.
Countries participating in the programme including Ireland, have assembled extensive duplicate seed collections to match those held at home. These are then to be delivered to the vault which will hold them in perpetuity at -18 degrees, something that should keep them safe for thousands of years, Dr Fowler said.
By the end of February there will be about 400,000 varieties in the vault.
Ireland’s seeds are expected to arrive either later this month or by April, Dr Fowler said.
The ongoing project is separate to this new initiative to rescue threatened seed collections in 46 countries, he continued.
Many countries struggle to maintain their seed banks to an international standard, leaving them at risk of partial or even total loss.
“There are a number of small seed banks around the world where the facilities are pretty poor. The seeds are basically dying in their packages,” he said.
“If we sit and wait we will have another wave of extinctions in agricultural biodiversity.”
Trust staff will visit 49 institutes where seeds are held, using funding provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Grains Research and Development Corporation.