Third World crops get $37.5 mln gene storage bank
By Alister Doyle | alertnet.org
A $37.5 million seed storage plan will help safeguard crops vital for developing nations from global warming and other threats, the head of a U.N.-backed scheme said on Thursday.
The cash, $30 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and $7.5 million from Norway's government, would preserve genes of crops grown in Africa, Asia and Latin America such as cassava, yams, bananas and rice.
"This initiative will rescue the most globally important developing-country collections of the world's 21 most important food crops," said Cary Fowler, director of the Rome-based Global Crop Diversity Trust.
The U.N.-backed trust said the money would "secure over 95 percent of the endangered crop diversity held in developing country gene banks, many of which are under-funded and in disrepair".
Some crops grown in poor countries are known as "orphan crops" because they have been largely neglected by modern breeders. Some, such as yams, cannot be grown from seeds, but need to be cultivated from cuttings, roots, or cell cultures.
"This is material that is really under imminent threat of becoming extinct," Fowler said.
The project would help collect and save thousands of different varieties of each of 21 key world food crops, also including wheat, maize and sorghum, he said.
Seeds now poorly stored might have genes enabling them to resist drought, flooding or heatwaves -- qualities that may be in demand because of global warming widely blamed on human burning of fossil fuels.
"Not only will this partnership combat hunger and protect crop diversity, but it also helps nations prepare for the impacts of climate change," said Timothy Wirth, president of the United Nations Foundation.
The trust is also building a "doomsday vault" in the Norwegian Arctic to safeguard millions of seeds. The new funding would allow developing countries and research groups to send 450,000 seed samples to the vault, due to open in March 2008.
Fowler said the new funds would help set up a global computer database to guide farmers.
"If you're an American farmer and search a gene bank in the U.S. for a strain of disease-resistant wheat there's quite a good possibility that it isn't there," he said. "But you might find it in by searching records in Ethiopia or Poland."
One possibility was a database modelled on online bookseller Amazon to link up national crop records, he said. "We think that virtually all the world's diversity can be found and accessed through such a system in five years," he said.
Crop varieties are being lost almost daily, such as rice ruined by typhoons in the Philippines.
The trust was set up in 2005 and has now raised $110 million, including the $37.5 million, of a funding goal of $260 million. The money from Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, and his wife Melinda is the biggest single donation.
Article from: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L18608640.htm
'Doomsday vault' to house world's seeds
'Doomsday' vault design unveiled
Arctic Seed Vault
Money given to save genetics of food
Latest News from our Front Page
The Unsafe Child: Less Outdoor Play is Causing More Harm than Good
The third grade classroom that was visiting our nature center for the day consisted of mostly boys–rowdy, loud and rambunctious boys. As we started out into the woods, the children spoke loudly to each other in anticipation of what was to come. After playing a quick game and explaining the ground rules, it was time for free play. As soon ...
Rights group demand police need warrant to access data
American citizens should be able to rest safe in the knowledge that no one has the right to pry into their digital records, where they have been and how long they stayed there.
The Supreme Court has just received a brief from the Electronic Frontier Federation (EFF) stating that this should certainly be the case. However, in the case of Davis v. ...
Murder Rates Rising Sharply in Many U.S. Cities
Cities across the nation are seeing a startling rise in murders after years of declines, and few places have witnessed a shift as precipitous as this city [Milwaukee]. With the summer not yet over, 104 people have been killed this year–after 86 homicides in all of 2014.
More than 30 other cities have also reported increases in violence from a year ...
Bulgaria - Islamic State Terrorists Caught Crossing Into Europe Posing As Refugees
Bulgarian authorities near the Gyueshevo border checkpoint detained the five men, aged between 20 and 24, late on Wednesday, Bulgarian broadcaster NOVA TV reported.
The men were stopped by a border guard, who they attempted to bribe with a “wad of dollars.” However, they were searched and Islamic State propaganda, specific Jihadists prayers and decapitation videos were found on their phones.
How This NY Mom Made the Case for Her Son’s Religious Vaccine Exemption
An unidentified, Russian immigrant mother who practices the Russian Orthodox faith, has secured a religious vaccine exemption for her autistic son. New York has a bill on the table to eliminate religious exemption and to root out those who weren’t refusing vaccines on strictly devout, religious grounds. Yet, this woman’s plight goes back before talk of eliminating the exemption – two ...
|More News » |