Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Doomsday Vault

2nd NE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 10, 2008

Hollowed out of a sandstone mountainside on a remote Norwegian island, a newly constructed planetary depository for seeds from key agricultural crops - dubbed the doomsday vault - is receiving its first samples this morning.

The underground, bombproof shelter, financed by the Norwegian government and located in the Svalbard Islands in the Arctic Ocean, is designed to safeguard the genetic diversity of the plants backing the world's food supply, in case political instability, nuclear war or climatic upheaval over the centuries wipes out key seed varieties from their countries of origin.

The vault has the capacity to hold a hoard of about 2.25 billion seeds, enough to preserve every important agricultural crop on Earth. But it will inter for safekeeping today an initial shipment of 100 million seeds from 268,000 varieties of wheat, barley, lentils and other crops, the beginning of a genetic trove that could come in handy for future generations.
-- Globe and Mail

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