Valuable chilli peppers reach sub-zero Arctic Seed Vault

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Washington, July 12 (ANI): US seed collection has delivered valuable varieties of chilli peppers and hundreds of sorghum varieties- an essential 'climate ready' crop-to the cool Arctic Circle environs of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault this week.

The so-called "doomsday" seed vault now contains seeds of more than 525,000 crop varieties, making it the most diverse assemblage of crop diversity amassed anywhere in the world.

Overall, this week's deposit consists of a total of 537 varieties of 13 crops.

It includes Wenk's Yellow Hots, a pepper that starts out yellow and hot and cools somewhat to red and medium-hot; Pico de Gallo or "Rooster's beak," a medium-hot salsa staple; and the unpredictable San Juan "Tsile," a New Mexico chili still grown by elder farmers in a Native American pueblo that can be anything from mild to medium to hot.

"As we manage the impact of climate change around the world, the seed vault in Svalbard will be the safety deposit box that ensures we can keep that food supply intact," said U.S. Congress Senator Cardin.

"Our goal, over the next 10 to 15 years, is to have the majority of the system's 511,000 collections represented in the Svalbard vault," said Edward B. Knipling, ARS administrator.

"Sorghum is an amazingly versatile crop-it's used for flour, bread, animal feed, beer and, increasingly, biofuels-and it's likely to become ever more important to global food security given its drought tolerance," said Dr. Cary Fowler, Executive Director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust.

"But production in many areas is threatened by insect pest and plant disease," he continued.

"This intensifies the need to conserve sorghum diversity so that plant breeders can find the genetic traits they need to equip this important crop for these challenges." (ANI)

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