Indian seeds deposited in Svalbard Global Seed Vault

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New Delhi, July 1 (UNI) India today deposited five varieties of seeds of rice and wheat in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, located in the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, to preserve their diversity.

Spitsbergen, in the Arctic region, is an ideal location for preservation because of its permafrost and lack of tectonic activity.

Its location at 430 ft above sea level will ensure that the site remains dry even if the icecaps melt.

The seeds-- IR-36 and IR-64 (of rice) and Lerma Rojo, Sonoro-64 and Ridley (of wheat)-- were deposited by Earth Science Minister Kapil Sibal, an official release here said.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault's mission is to provide a safety net against accidental loss of diversity in traditional gene banks due to mismanagement, accident, equipment failures, funding cuts and natural disasters.

The Vault is managed under terms spelled out in a tripartite agreement between the Norwegian Government, the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT) and the Nordic Genetic Resource Center.

The Trust will provide most of the annual operating costs for the facility through endowment funds, while the Norwegian Government will finance the upkeep of the structure.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has provided about 750,000 dollars to assist developing countries and international agricultural research centers to package and ship seeds to the Seed Vault.

Construction of the Seed Vault at a cost of about nine million dollars was funded entirely by the Government of Norway. Operational costs will be paid by Norway and the Trust.

The primary funders of the Trust are the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK, Norway, Australia, Switzerland and Sweden, though funding has been received from a wide variety of sources including Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, and India.

UNI YJ MIR AS1857

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