Svalbard Global Seed Vault

‘Doomsday Vault’ Gets 50,000 More Deposits, Food Crisis Looming?

The “doomsday vault” that is supposed to contain enough seeds to sustain humanity in case of a global disaster just received a 50,000-seed deposit. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located in a remote region of Norway about 620 miles from the North Pole. The gene bank has only been opened once before.

The 50,000 seed deposit also included a return of reconstituted seeds removed from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in October of 2015. About 15,000 of the seeds were reconstituted previously withdrawn samples from the International Center for Agricultural Research, MSN reports. The seeds deposited represent some of the crops most essential for the survival of the human race.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is the largest seed repository on the planet. It was built in 2008 when a safe place to store, and ultimately reach, the seeds, was deemed necessary. Scientists and world leaders had grown concerned the massive seed bank in war-torn Syria would not be reachable by farmers due to the ongoing carnage and volatile conditions of the region and prompted the building of the doomsday vault.

The doomsday vault is located in a permafrost region. The nondescript structure is built into the mountainside and has only a single access door. If the power grid fails or a nuclear war occurs, the facility is not supposed to lose power. The seeds contained inside are also supposed to remain viable for up to 200 years, even if the electric system fails.

The doomsday vault is located in the main city of Svalbard, Longyearbyen. It expertly blends in with its arctic environment. Once inside the sole access door, the rare visitor to the vault almost immediately begins down the 400-foot tunnel leading deep inside the mountain and to the seed storage area.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the researchers from the international center borrowed seed samples from the doomsday vault two years ago because they could not garner such perfect specimens anywhere else. The scientists were able to study the seeds, reconstitute them from their preserved state, and then multiply them.

The seed samples taken out of the doomsday vault to be studied and reconstituted included these vital varieties – rice, sorghum, potatoes, barley, wheat, chickpea, and lentil. The deposit to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault was comprised of samples from gene banks in America, Bosnia, Benin, India, Pakistan, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, Herzegovina, Belarus, Great Britain, and the Netherlands, Live Science reports.

The International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), specializes in “dry zone agriculture.” The reasons why scientists chose now to open the doomsday vault twice to study and multiple dry zone seed samples remain unclear. The possibility scientists are prepping for an increase in dry agriculture farming has caused some to become concerned about the possibility of an environmental problem or a man-made disaster which could impact the food stability on a global scale.

ICARDA head, Aly Abousabaa, maintains the seeds borrowed from the doomsday vault permitted the scientific researchers to “find solutions to pressing regional and global challenges.” Abousabaa also said the “reconstituted seeds will play a critical role in developing climate-resilient crops for generations.”

“It just shows that the global system of fail-safe backup works,” Global Crop Diversity Trust representative, Michael Koch, said when talking about the seed sample withdrawal of 2015 – which the group funded.

“We wanted to make sure that the publicity around this deposit is not taken by someone for different purposes.”

The 50,000 seeds deposited into the doomsday vault brought the total number of samples stored inside the remote gene bank to 940,000. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault has the capacity to protectively house 4.5 million seeds.

[Featured Image by John McConnico/AP Images]

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