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
Facebook’s New ‘Chinese-style’ Political Censorship System Goes Global
Last week 21WIRE reported on Facebook’s new communitarian policy whereby readers can ‘flag’ content as “fake news” if they believe it’s not real, or if they do not like it. In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo False Flag event, the social media giant is now allowing governments to determine what is ‘good free speech’, and what is not.
“An article ...
"Cheerful" Dutch Financier Becomes 4th ABN Amro Banker Suicide
Following the deaths of 36 bankers last year, 2015 has got off to an inauspicious start with the reported suicide of Chris Van Eeghen - the 4th ABN Amro banker suicide in the last few years. As Quotenet reports, the death of Van Eghen - the head of ABN's corporate finance and capital markets -"startled" friends and colleagues as ...
West’s tributes to late Saudi King reveal hypocrisy not democracy
Hypocrisy is not usually regarded as a virtue of leadership, yet judging by the gushing tributes paid to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah by various Western governments and establishment figures on his death, there are those who believe it should be.
In the UK this hypocrisy has been stretched to breaking point with the decision to fly the flags over Downing ...
Millions of GMO insects could be set loose in Florida Keys
Millions of genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in the Florida Keys if British researchers win approval to use the bugs against two extremely painful viral diseases.
Never before have insects with modified DNA come so close to being set loose in a residential U.S. neighborhood.
"This is essentially using a mosquito as a drug to cure disease," said Michael Doyle, executive ...
Furguson Scared The Super - Rich So Bad They're Planning Exits
According to a speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Ferguson and Occupy absolutely terrified the world’s super-rich, and now they’re buying airstrips and farms in remote locations to escape to.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which was held between January 21-24, over 2,500 leaders in the fields of business, international politics, academia and journalism met to discuss ...
|More News » |