Seeds and the preservation of seed lines is an important silent part of nutrition. We assume as constancy in our vegetables and fruit. Changes in this forms part of our unease over GM crops. Are they as good as we have preciously experienced and enjoyed.
There are some 1.5 million different crop strains. These are always at risk from war, climate change and economic and cultural change.
The Norwegian Government has developed the Svalbard International Seed Vault where examples of most seeds in the world will be stored deep in an Arctic mountain. The first seeds will be stored in 2008. A global insurance policy. Or shuffling the deckchairs on the Titanic. .
The caveat to this wonderful and imaginative idea is that seeds loose their ability to germinate in about 20 years. This will mean a massive programme in addition to the $125,000 costs for maintaining the bank.
Michael Hopkin Nature vol 445—February 2007 p 693
- Martin Eastwood