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posted by janrinok on Thursday October 06 2016, @04:23PM   Printer-friendly
from the planting-the-future dept.

A major seed bank in Aleppo, Syria, holds genes that might help researchers breed crops to survive climate change. But the conflict tearing the country apart has rendered the bank largely inaccessible for the past four years. Now an effort to duplicate its seed collection at more-accessible locations is ramping up.

On 29 September, the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), which runs the bank in Aleppo, officially launched a sister bank in Terbol, Lebanon, which now hosts 30,000 duplicates. Together with a new bank in Rabat, Morocco, it will make thousands of seeds available to researchers.
Seed banks function as bank accounts for plant genes. Collectors deposit seeds, which can later be 'withdrawn' to replenish crops lost in conflict or disaster, to breed new traits into crops — such as pest or heat resistance — and to research the evolution of plants over the ages.

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by bootsy on Thursday October 06 2016, @05:48PM

    by bootsy (3440) on Thursday October 06 2016, @05:48PM (#411173)

    Check out []

    If you are in the UK you can visit this. It's about an hour or so drive from London in Wakehurst in a National Trust site leased out to Kew and the Royal Botanical Society. They have information about this subject and do talks several times a year.

    The answer to your question turns out to vary a lot. In the right conditions some seeds can last for 1000s of years whereas others are more sensitive. Some can survive salt water and float accross oceans. Temperature, light, humidity and pH all play a part. It certainly showed me how much I don't know about the subject!

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