If the world ends, the Doomsday vault now has over a million types of seed to help humanity start over
- The ‘Doomsday’ Seed Vault in
Norwayjust received its largest deposit till date of 60,000 new varieties of seeds.
- The vault is now home to 1.05 million seeds, which is still only a quarter of its total capacity.
- The new seeds include some notable examples like the first deposit by a Native American group and ‘royal’ plants from
Prince Charlescountry home.
This is the largest deposit for the Seed Vault since it opened its doors for deposits in 2008.
The addition of the 60,000 new seeds brings the total number of seed varieties stored in the vault up to 1.05 million. And, this only one-fourth of its capacity. The three underground alcoves designed to maintain a steady temperature of -18 degrees Celsius can hold up to 4.5 million samples overall.
The sample includes some notable examples including the first contribution from a Native American group, the Cherokees, which include beans, squash and corn.
Britain’s Prince Charles, known for his environmental activism, sent in 27 different wild plants — including cowslips and orchids from his country home in Highgrove.
"It’s more urgent than ever that we act now to protect this diversity before it really is too late. Therefore the Seed Vault and seed banks around the world play a vital role in this critically important mission," said the prince in a statement.
How does the Seed Vault work?
The Seed Vault was launched in 2008 by Norway as a way to safeguard humanity’s future against the threat of
It’s located inside a mountain near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen Island near Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, which is approximately 1,300 kilometres from the
Any country or institution can sign up to deposit seeds in the vault. They retain ownership over the seeds that they have deposited and can make a withdrawal whenever they deem necessary.
The 60,000 new samples of seeds that were deposited on Tuesday came from 36 different regional and international institutions. They included wild varieties of European apple trees, wheat, rice, wildflowers and corn.
"As the pace of climate change and biodiversity loss increases, there is new urgency surrounding efforts to save food crops at risk of extinction," said Crop Trust Executive Director Stefan Schmitz.
Even though the Earth lives on, the vault has already proved itself useful on one occasion. During Syria’s civil war, researchers were able to retrieve seed varieties of grains that were lost when Aleppo was destroyed.
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