By Miriam Shindler/CIMMYT
CIMMYT’s Wellhausen-Anderson Gene Bank sent its fifth shipment of seed to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway last week for safeguarding.
Thirty-four boxes containing about 420 kilograms of seed left from CIMMYT’s El Batán headquarters on 7 February for the vault, which is deeply embedded in the frozen mountains of Svalbard. Isolated on the Norwegian Island of Spitsbergen, halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole, the Global Seed Vault is keeping the genetic diversity of the world’s crops safe for future generations by storing duplicates of seeds from gene banks across the globe.
CIMMYT sent 1,946 accessions of maize and 5,964 of wheat accessions to add to that collection. Over the past several years, CIMMYT has sent 123,057 accessions of maize and wheat, which is essential for protecting valuable genetic diversity. CIMMYT is working with the Norwegian government and the Global Crop Diversity Trust, who manage the Global Seed Vault, to keep maize and wheat seed safe against a global catastrophe.