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DOOMSDAY SCENARIO; warwick university sends seeds to vault in the arctic circle... one day they might save humanity.

Byline: FIONNULA HAINEY News Reporter fionnula.hainey@reachplc.com

SEEDS are being sent all the way from Coventry to the Arctic today in preparation for doomsday.

The UK Vegetable Gene Bank at the University of Warwick, which stores a collection of around 14,000 crop samples, is making an important donation. A total of 101 seed samples from 18 different crops will arrive at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, located on a remote archipelago of northern Norway, around 1,300km from the North Pole.

By sending seeds to the Global Seed we're adding level of 'Dr Guy The Arctic seed vault, 'the ultimate insurance policy' for the world's food supply, contains approximately one million seed samples currently, but has the capacity to carry 4.5 million. It's mission is to act as a final back up so that future generations have the ability to grow crops should doomsday ever come - and to help them overcome issues of climate change and population growth.

The university's donation of seeds from onions, lettuce, carrots and different kinds of brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower etc) were accepted yesterday after making the nearly 2,000 mile journey all the way from the West Midlands. The seeds originally came from 21 different countries, ranging from Japan to South Africa to Sweden, and 31 samples originate from the UK, including Cornwall, Tyne and Wear, Worcestershire and Glamorgan.

It is only the second donation to come from the UK - this first being potato samples that the James Hutton Institute deposited in 2017.

Dr Guy Barker, from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick commented: "Conserving crop genetic diversity is really important to ensure we all have access to nutritious food.

our Svalbard Vault a further back-up'. Barker "By sending some of our seeds to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault we're adding a further level of 'back-up' to safeguard our collection for the future." What is the vegetable gene bank? The gene bank opened in 1980 at the University of Warwick's Wellesbourne campus following concerns over the loss of genetic diversity in crops. It was designated by the IBPGR (International Board for Plant Genetic Resources, now Bioversity International) as a base collection within the global network for a number of outbreeding vegetable crops including alliums, brassicas, carrot, radish and minor salads.

The seed collection is conserved at -18 C, which is the same conditions as in the Arctic vault.

The UK Vegetable Genebank plays an active role in researching and breeding projects aimed at the development of new vegetable varieties.

The seeds are subjected to a germination test

By sending our seeds to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault we're adding a further level of 'back-up'. Dr Guy Barker

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Seeds are taken into the Svalbard facility

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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:0ARCT
Date:Nov 1, 2018
Words:459
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