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Monday, April 5, 2010

Doomsday Vault collections have hit a milestone!

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is Norway’s answer to a call from the international community to provide the best possible assurance of safety for the world’s crop diversity and the ultimate safety net for one of the world’s most important natural resources. (Norway owns the Vault, but not the seeds it contains).
This seed vault holds duplicate samples, or "spare" copies, of seeds held in genebanks worldwide.
The Nordic Gene Bank (NGB) has stored a backup of Nordic plant germplast as frozen seeds in an abandoned coal mine at Svalbard since 1984. Since January 1, 2008 the Nordic Gene Bank is an integrated part of the newly formed Nordic Genetic Resource Center (NordGen). The seeds are stored at -18° Celsius (-0.4° Fahrenheit). Locally mined coal provides power generation. Even if the equipment fails, it will take a long time before the temperature rises to the −3 °C (27 °F) of the surrounding sandstone bedrock.
On 10 March 2010 the seed count at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault passed half a million samples. Each sample can contain up to 500 seeds so the total number of seeds presently being stored is approximately 250 million individual seeds. This will become the most diverse collection of food crop seeds anywhere on Earth. 

The Vault is designed by Peter W. Søderman of the Barlighaug Consulting. To read more about the art in the vault, please click here, and more about the construction, please click here.

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