Russia to hand over 2,000 seed specimens to Arctic Vault

ANI | Updated: Feb 27, 2018 05:14 IST

Moscow [Russia], Feb 27 (ANI): Russia plans to transfer about 2,200 specimens of food plant seeds to the Global Seed Vault on Norway's Arctic island of Svalbard, an official said on Monday.

Dr Nikolai Dzyubenko, the director of the Nikolai Vavilov All-Russia Institute of Plant Genetic Resources [VIR], told TASS, "We have an agreement with the Global Crop Diversity Trust, which operates the vault, to transfer for deposit there the doublets of seed plant collections."

Dzyubenko said the country would transfer "2,200 specimens of seeds there to mark the 10th anniversary of its foundation".

The Global Seed Vault was created precisely ten years ago by the Norwegian government, who shelled out nine million dollars for its construction.

At present, the vault reports to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation [FAO]. Its main task is to prevent the depletion of the genetic diversity of seeds as a result of any possible global upheavals.

Most of the doublets to be delivered to Svalbard are those of food plants - wheat, barley, oats and grain legumes.

"[VIR is sending them] only the plants that help maintain food security," Dr Dzyubenko said. "The global vault is meant for keeping up the diversity of cultivated plants that could be used in the situations of climate calamities, space and/or thermonuclear wars. That's why the seeds are kept there only for foods and agriculture."

The Global Seed Vault on Svalbard has about 900,000 specimens of seeds from plant collections of more than 70 depositaries of genetic materials from around the world.

FAO assessments say this deposition amounts to 40 percent of all the unique specimens of seeds worldwide.

Any gene bank, either a government-controlled or private one, as well as institutes, NGOs or companies that have collections of seeds of their own can join the project.

The All-Russia Institute of Plant Genetic Resources boasts of having one of the most grandiose collections, which includes among other things the seeds of plants that are believed to have become extinct out in the wild.(ANI)