Friday, January 13, 2006
New Scientist reports that Norway is building a doomsday vault within a freezing-cold island just 1000 kilometres from the North Pole. It will hold around 2 million seeds, representing all known varieties of the world's crops. The vault's seed collection duplicates seeds already held at other seed banks -- most are no longer widely planted, but they contain genetic traits regularly used in plant breeding. It is being built to safeguard the world's food supply against nuclear war, climate change, terrorism, rising sea levels, earthquakes and the ensuing collapse of electricity supplies. "If the worst came to the worst, this would allow the world to reconstruct agriculture on this planet," says Cary Fowler, director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, an independent international organisation promoting the project.
From issue 2534 of New Scientist magazine, 12 January 2006, page 12