New retrievement of seeds from Svalbard Global Seed Vault to replace Alleppo gene bank

At the same time when ICARDA brings back to the Seed Vault 7 511 samples from last years multiplication of seeds at their stations in Lebanon and Morocco, 52 451 seeds samples, initially sent to the Svalbard from their gene bank in Aleppo, Syria, is now on their way back for reconstructing new complete gene bank collections at these two new locations.

Ali Shehadeh the Rangeland and Pasture Germplasm Curator at ICARDA in Genetic Resources Section at ICARDA in Terbol, Lebanon, travelled to Svalbard this week to assist NordGen staff in identifying seed boxes to be brought out of the Seed Vault and returned to ICARDA :  We are so happy that we were foresighted enough to secure our valuable seed collection in Svalbard, and that we are able to get viable seeds of good quality back now.

– I will urge all gene banks having copies of their unique seed accessions secured in the Seed Vault, this second return of seeds withdrawn from the seed vault in 2015 proves that the seeds in the Vault kept viable perfectly, says Mr. Jon Georg Dale, the Norwegian Minister of Agriculture and Food.

Ali Shehadeh the Rangeland and Pasture Germplasm Curator at ICARDA in Genetic Resources Section at ICARDA in Terbol, Lebanon, travelled to Svalbard this week to assist NordGen staff in identifying seed boxes to be brought out of the Seed Vault and returned to ICARDA.
Ali Shehadeh the Rangeland and Pasture Germplasm Curator at ICARDA in Genetic Resources Section at ICARDA in Terbol, Lebanon, travelled to Svalbard this week to assist NordGen staff in identifying seed boxes to be brought out of the Seed Vault and returned to ICARDA. Credit: Åsmund Asdal/NorGen

Second Seed Vault re-deposit

The first withdrawal of seeds was conducted in September 2015, in cooperation with the Global Crop Diversity Trust. A total of 38073 seed accessions arrived safely in Lebanon and Morocco in good condition, and were sown already in November 2015. The crops within these 128 seed boxes were a mixture of cereals, legumes and forage crops. New seeds of annual cereals and legumes were harvested in 2016 and fresh seeds of 15160 accessions were re-deposited in Svalbard already in February this year.

Now, in the beginning of September, ICARDA ships 7511 more accessions from the seed harvest in 2016 to Svalbard for security storage. These samples are both accessions that have been conserved in the Seed Vault before and some new samples that so far have not been secured in the Vault. Ali Shehadeh tells that most of the seeds are of different crops; wheat, barley, faba bean and some are grasspeas.