From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Doomsday Vault
Mains level : Not Much
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault — referred to as the earth’s ‘doomsday vault’ — now contains about 1.05 million seeds.
Global Seed Vault
- The vault — in the island of Spitsbergen, midway between Norway and the North Pole — opened in 2008 and preserves seeds for several food varieties.
- The aim of the vault is to preserve a vast variety of crop seeds in the case of a doomsday event, calamity, climate change or national emergency.
- The vault is artificially cooled at temperatures of minus 18 degrees Celsius.
- The low temperature and limited access to oxygen will ensure low metabolic activity and delay seed ageing.
- The permafrost surrounding the facility will help maintain the low temperature of the seeds if the electricity supply fails.
Access to seeds
- Vault seed samples are copies of samples stored in the depositing genebanks.
- Researchers, plant breeders, and other groups wishing to access seed samples cannot do so through the seed vault; they must instead request samples from the depositing genebanks.
- The samples stored in the genebanks will, in most cases, be accessible in accordance with the terms and conditions of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, approved by 118 countries or parties.