Norway’s Global Seed Vault turns 15

The Svalbard "doomsday" vault is designed to preserve the biodiversity of crop species.

By Deutsche Presse-Agentur - February 27, 2023
The entrance to the global seed vault also known as ‘Doomsday’ on Spitsbergen rises out of the snowy mountain landscape near the polar town of Longyearbyen. (dpa)

COPENHAGEN — On the Arctic Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, the Global Seed Vault celebrated its 15th anniversary on Sunday.

The seed vault contains almost 1.2 million seed samples from all over the world. Its central task is to secure crop diversity on Earth and the food supply for mankind.

The facility also gives gene banks the opportunity to access backup copies of their collections in the event of a disaster. Almost 1.2 million seed samples from all over the world are stored at a constant minus 18 degrees Celsius in the facility near Longyearbyen, the capital of Svalbard.

Teenagers from the village who are 15, the same age as the seed depository, are also expected to help deposit new seed duplicates in the vault on Tuesday.

In the days surrounding the anniversary, dozens of boxes with almost 20,000 new seed samples from 20 gene banks around the world are expected on Spitsbergen. Among them are around 2,750 samples from the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research in Germany, the country’s largest such facility.

This article has been fact-checked by Arctic Today and Polar Research and Policy Initiative, with the support of the EMIF managed by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

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