The World's Seed Vault

Norway. I can't say that I have been interested in visiting this frigid northern European country, nor have I known anyone that has. I guess that's not true of everyone though, as this part of the world has been inhabited since at least the 10,000 BC, and was once home to the infamous vikings who may have traveled to North America before anyone else in the world. Well the Norwegians are still out there exploring the world and collecting its artifacts. What they're bringing home these days are seeds. Plant seeds. Norway is now home to the recently completed Svalbard Global Seed Vault, whose goal is to collect seed samples from every plant on the globe and preserve them for future generations. According to an article in Seed Magazine (appropriately enough), the seed vault is a 
"bomb-proof concrete bunker encased in permafrost, 130 meters-deep inside the sandstone of a Norwegian mountain. It will store copies of seeds currently housed in the more than 1,400 gene banks worldwide, so that should calamity strike any of those gene banks, Svalbard’s seeds will save the collections—and thus humanity—from the jaws of famine."
While keeping the world's seeds in the safety of a mountain is an important if monumental task, that is not the only project of the people running the vault: 
"The small Rome-based organization (the Global Crop Diversity Trust) has launched an ambitious rescue program aimed at keeping seed stocks above that crucial 85 percent regeneration rate, providing the equipment, labor, training, and supplies (such as airtight seed envelopes) for gene banks in some 70 countries to replant their samples, cull fresh seed, and update their records on approximately 100,000 samples. Following successful regeneration, many previously inaccessible seeds will for the first time be available to plant breeders, plant geneticists, and plant pathologists"

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