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Arctic stronghold of world’s seeds flooded after permafrost melts. It was designed as an impregnable deep-freeze to protect the world’s most precious seeds from any global disaster and ensure humanity’s food supply forever.

Arctic stronghold of world’s seeds flooded after permafrost melts

But the Global Seed Vault, buried in a mountain deep inside the Arctic circle, has been breached after global warming produced extraordinary temperatures over the winter, sending meltwater gushing into the entrance tunnel. The vault is on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen and contains almost a million packets of seeds, each a variety of an important food crop. When it was opened in 2008, the deep permafrost through which the vault was sunk was expected to provide “failsafe” protection against “the challenge of natural or man-made disasters”.

The rain in Spain falls mainly on genebank accessions. The last couple of weeks have been all go.

The rain in Spain falls mainly on genebank accessions

Last week I was at IRRI in the Philippines, but I’ve blogged about that genebank before here, so I won’t say much more about it now, save that they have a cool new automated seed sorter. Project - Royal Holloway, University of London. The Mobile Museum project will examine the circulation of objects into and out of the Kew Museum between 1847 and 1987.

Project - Royal Holloway, University of London

Museum collections founded at this time were designed to be useful – scientifically, pedagogically, and commercially. They made valuable contributions to the creation of new knowledge both by acquiring and displaying specimens and artefacts, and re-circulating them. Considering museums in terms of their collections’ mobility requires re-thinking the way they have functioned historically and what can be done with their collections today. Kew’s Economic Botany Collection is supported by an unusually extensive set of documents recording the movement of objects through the collection.

By examining these and other archives, it will be possible to digitally record specimen and artefact transfers and to place these objects in new locations, with new contexts, histories and significance. Using the World's Oldest Apple Trees to Supply New Ones. Posted by Dennis O'Brien, Public Affairs Specialist, Agricultural Research Service in Research and Science Mar 15, 2017 Considering the many different types of apples we see at farmers markets and supermarkets, it may be hard to believe that apple trees are not as diverse as they should be.

Using the World's Oldest Apple Trees to Supply New Ones

Five million US seeds banked for resurrection experiment. Michael Marquand/Getty The Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) is one of dozens of species in the Project Baseline seed bank.

Five million US seeds banked for resurrection experiment

In a vault kept at −18 °C in Fort Collins, Colorado, more than 5 million seeds now lie frozen in time — destined to wait for up to 50 years until evolutionary scientists earn permission to experiment with them. Unlike most seed banks, which aim to protect biological diversity, Project Baseline is designed to enable precise, controlled studies of how plants are evolving in response to climate change and environmental degradation. Taken from around 250 locations across the continental United States and stored at a US Department of Agriculture facility, the seeds represent some 60 species. Scientists began collecting the seeds in earnest in 2012, backed by a US$1.3-million grant from the US National Science Foundation (NSF). Seed Central. Five years ago, François Korn was sitting in a board meeting of the Seed Biotechnology Center at the University of California–Davis (UC-Davis) when talk turned to exactly how many seed and seed-related companies were situated around the university.

Seed Central

No one was quite sure, so when Korn returned to his office at SeedQuest—the central information website for the global seed industry, which he runs—he identified every nearby seed company he could and pinpointed them on a map. Fifty were located within an hour’s drive of campus, he discovered, and twice that many within a three-hour drive. The magic of Svalbard. A short distance from the North Pole, there is a Norwegian island called Spitsbergen.

The magic of Svalbard

On this remote piece of dry land in the very boreal archipelago of Svalbard is the Global Seed Vault, the world’s underground seed store. Within the concrete walls of a warehouse built to withstand even a nuclear war are endangered seeds from around the world. Among them, until four years ago, there were 40 ancient black Peruvian corn grains that a student of agronomy from Cremona — only 16 years old — has now seen fit to make the cornerstone of his company: the agricultural startup of Carlo Maria Recchia.That sounds easy enough, but Carlo Maria, selected by Coldiretti Giovani as one of Italy’s the most promising young farmers, had to insist to get those seeds, and not a little either.

First, with his school, and then through the Ministry of Agriculture. “Then I spent two years multiplying the seeds so I could start to farm,” Carlo told The Food Makers. Whatever. Meet the Scientists Hunting and Saving Wild Sunflower Seeds. Plant physiologist Laura Marek collects wild sunflowers and stores their seeds at the USDA's Plant Introduction Station in Ames, IA.

Meet the Scientists Hunting and Saving Wild Sunflower Seeds

We're crawling along Highway 95, just south of Hanksville, Utah, when Laura Marek spots it: a flash of yellow amid the region’s red and ochre sandstone cliffs. “There! Up that draw!”