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Syrian Seeds Stored in Norway for Safekeeping

A team of scientists in Aleppo won an award for their efforts to preserve plant diversity.

Image via ICARDA.

Syrian scientists are being rewarded for preserving life of another kind. In Norway, they’ve amassed a seedbank of 150,000 seeds in an effort to protect the vast, rich diversity of Syrian agriculture and horticulture. Last week, the guardians of the ICARDA genebank, which stores its seed collection at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault on the Norwegian islands, were awarded with the Gregor Mendel Award for their extensive work.

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Back in issue 002 we wrote about the plans for the Svalbard International Seed Vault. It was to be a bunker to "safeguard seeds of every known crop variety from nearly every country on earth" so that agriculture could survive a nuclear war or environmental catastrophe. Now the vault, which, according to plan, looks like a supervillain's secret arctic base, is a reality. Here's a video tour from National Geographic:

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The Seed Vault at TED

The Seed Vault, which is keeping copies of every seed in the world in a secure vault in the Arctic Circle, is a source of endless fascination. We...

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