Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

posted by martyb on Wednesday February 25 2015, @01:39PM   Printer-friendly
from the the-ultimate-offsite-backup dept.

A few hundred feet inside a permafrost-encrusted mountain below the Arctic circle sits the seed bank that could be humanity's last hope during a global food crisis. This month, scientists suggested that this unassuming vault is the ideal space for preserving the world's data on DNA.

This is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a bunker on the Arctic island of Svalbard, which for the past seven years has amassed almost a half million seed samples from all over the world. The idea is to use the naturally freezing, isolated environment of the far north to preserve the world's plant life and agricultural diversity—which, of course, is under threat by climate change and disaster. If a food crisis occurs, the vault could provide the seeds that repopulate parts of the world.

But it could potentially preserve much more than seeds. A study in the German chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie this month details the quest to find out how long data stored on DNA could be preserved, and also suggests the vault as the ideal storage location.


This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Wednesday February 25 2015, @03:25PM

    by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 25 2015, @03:25PM (#149514) Journal

    Is there a contingency plan in case average outside temperatures get above freezing? Surrounding it with insulation, and storing ice blocks inside, like an old fashioned ice house, doesn't seem too practical. Move to a place that stays below freezing, if there still is one?

    Maybe figure out what more information is needed to rebuild seeds from scratch. In addition to DNA that would be the epigenome? The record of which genes are deactivated by methylation? And the DNA and epigenomes of all the symbiotic bacteria and viruses? And DNA of organelles, such as the mitochondria? Store all that info on a medium that does not require freezing temperatures.

    Starting Score:    1  point
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   2