’Doomsday Vault’ Gets New, Large Shipment
2010 11 11

By Jeanna Bryner | LiveScience.com


In hopes of bolstering our defenses in the event of a major food crisis, researchers sent tens of thousands of seeds from different types of rice last week to a "doomsday vault" in the archipelago Svalbard.

Contained in black boxes, the 42,627 samples of rice seeds traveled to the mountains of the Norwegian archipelago, about 746 miles (1,200 kilometers) from the North Pole. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is buried deep inside the icy mountains, where it protects all of the world’s important crop seeds in case of a man-made or natural disaster.

The rice collection was sent from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), whose first deposit to the doomsday vault included 70,180 rice-seed samples sent in 2008. If ideal temperature and storage conditions remain inside the vault, seeds can be stored for hundreds of years, scientists say.

Polar bear protection

The giant icebox of sorts, which was officially opened on Feb. 26, 2008, is designed to protect the world’s crop diversity from natural or man-made disasters.

The vault, which officially opened on Feb. 26, 2008, is dug into the Platåberget mountain ("plateau mountain") located near the village of Longyearbyen, Svalbard – a group of islands north of mainland Norway. The arctic permafrost offers natural freezing for the seeds, while additional cooling brings the temperatures down to minus 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 18 degrees Celsius).

And if the mountain of snow enshrouding the storage rooms wasn’t enough protection, what better bodyguard than one of nature’s biggest beasts.

"The region on Svalbard surrounding the seed vault is remote, severe, and inhabited by polar bears," according to the Global Crop Diversity Trust, which helps to support the vault’s operations.

The preciousness of such seeds is reflected in the inaccessible nature of the vault. "Anyone seeking access to the seeds themselves will have to pass through four locked doors: the heavy steel entrance doors, a second door approximately 115 meters down the tunnel and finally the two keyed air-locked doors," the Trust writes. "Keys are coded to allow access to different levels of the facility. Not all keys unlock all doors."

Fail-safe backup

Like all seeds coming to the vault, the new ones are duplicates of those from other collections – in this case, duplicates are from those kept by IRRI’s International Rice Genebank in Los Baños, in the Philippines.

So if seeds are lost due to natural disasters, war, or lack of resources, the seed collections can be reestablished from Svalbard.

The vault can hold 4.5 million seed samples — and since each sample contains about 500 seeds, a maximum of 2.25 billion seeds will fit into the vault. That means all the unique seed samples conserved today by the 1,400 or so genebanks located across the globe could have duplicates in the seed vault.

Article from: livescience.com

Doomsday Vault Protects World’s Seeds on "60 Minutes" (2008)

Video from: YouTube.com



Related Articles
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault Atop the World


Latest News from our Front Page

Gene That Once Aided Survival in the Arctic Found to Have Negative Impact on Health Today
2014 10 23
In individuals living in the Arctic, researchers have discovered a gene variant that arose thousands of years ago and most likely provided an evolutionary advantage for processing high-fat diets or for surviving in a cold environment; however, the variant also seems to increase the risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and infant mortality in today’s northern populations. {snip} “Our work ...
The Ebola hoax: questions, answers, and the false belief in the “One It”
2014 10 23
“The Reality Manufacturing Company doesn’t just sell ‘fake paintings’ that are easy to spot. No. They also sell images that are geared to mesh with people’s deeply held instincts and thereby produce rigid false beliefs. People are sure that if they gave up such beliefs, their world would fall apart and blow away in the wind.” ...
New Controversial Theory Suggests "Hobbits" Were Not Human - Who Were These Mysterious Beings?
2014 10 23
The origin of the Hobbit species remains a challenging subject to scientists. The Hobbit’s discovery confirmed the view that the Earth was once populated by many species of human, but new research the Hobbit’s were not human at all! So, who were these mysterious beings? Where did they come from? The idea that our species, Homo sapiens, was the only species of human on ...
Right into enemy hands? ISIS shows off new weapons allegedly airdropped by US (VIDEO)
2014 10 23
Islamic State has published a new video in which a jihadist shows off brand-new American hardware, which was purportedly intended for the Kurds they are fighting in the Syrian border town of Kobani. The undated video, posted by the unofficial IS mouthpiece “a3maq news”, sees a jihadist showing several boxes of munitions with English-language markings, with a parachute spread out on ...
STAGED INFECTION: Has The Ebola ‘Outbreak’ Narrative Fallen Apart?
2014 10 22
Over the past month, the ‘pandemic’ propaganda surrounding the deadly Ebola virus seemed to reach vitriolic levels – raising serious questions about the validity of this current viral outbreak… On Monday of this week, it was reported that 48 people were released and cleared after a 21-day quarantine due to their contact with the now deceased Ebola-stricken patient Thomas Eric ...
More News »