USDA contributes seeds to vault

As if in answer to my recent post “Doomsday seed vault to open soon“, USDA’s ARS just sent their first shipment of seeds to Norway. From the press release (via ISU’s Agronomy News):

Seeds from more than 11,000 plant varieties are being shipped by the USDA Agricultural Research Service to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a partnership of Norway and the Global Crop Diversity Trust, is designed to store duplicates of seeds from collections from around the globe. If seeds are lost for any reason — natural disasters, war or power failure — the seed collections could be re-established using seeds from Svalbard. This first shipment of seeds from ARS to Svalbard contains 471 crop species, including maize, soybeans, peanuts and sunflowers.


Additional shipments are anticipated each year for the next 5 to 10 years, until most of the germplasm represented in the NPGS collection is also stored at Svalbard. The ARS shipment will arrive to be part of the grand opening of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault on Feb. 26, when the first sunlight for 2008 will appear over the Arctic night.

(ARS News Service, Jan. 30)