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Seed collection in Norway vault grows

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Oslo, Norway (UPI) Feb 28, 2011
A seed vault in Norway has received seeds for rare lima beans, blight-resistant cantaloupe and antioxidant-rich tomatoes from South America, officials said.

Marking its third anniversary, the vault in the depths of an arctic mountain on Norway's remote Svalbard Archipelago received the seeds from gene banks maintained by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, the largest single contributor of seeds to the vault, reported last week.

In addition to the South American contributions, the vault has received seed samples from 94 countries.

The new contributions will be added to the more than 600,000 seed varieties held at Svalbard, officials said.

"The optimism generated by the arrival of this incredible bumper crop of contributions is tempered by the threats that seem to emerge almost daily to seed collections around the world," said Cary Fowler of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, which manages the vault in partnership with the Norwegian government and the Nordic Genetic Resources Center in Sweden.

"As the threats to agriculture escalate, the importance of crop diversity grows.

"The scale of the challenges facing agriculture can be overwhelming, yet the knowledge that over 600,000 samples are now guaranteed to be safe and available to help farmers gives me great hope for our common future," Fowler said.

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