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Stocking the Seed Bank

Scientists around the world are taking steps to ensure that seeds from as many plant species as possible are preserved for the future.

Assortment of crop seeds

Photo: sillydog (flickr)

Scientists are storing different species of plant seeds including corn in large quantities known as seed banks

Worried about growing corn a thousand years from now?

You’re probably not, but scientists around the world are taking steps to ensure that seeds from as many species as possible are preserved for the future.

Though farmers have been saving seeds for centuries, researchers have recently begun seed saving on a much greater scale.

Banks like the Millennium Seed Bank in Wes Sussex, England are storing countless species in giant refrigerators cooled to 4 degrees Fahrenheit and kept at 15 percent humidity. At these conditions seeds can be safely stored for up to a century, or maybe longer.

Why should we save seeds when nature renews itself on it’s own you ask?

Well, these days there are many reasons scientists feel it is important to keep an extensive back stock of seeds. The spread of invasive plant species, increased use of genetically modified crops, and the spread of corporate agriculture practices all threaten the sustainability of the plants that surround us today.

Also, with the rising threat of global warming, some plant species may not be able to adapt to the warmer climate. If seeds from these plants can be stored now, it is possible that in hundreds of years future generations may be able to revive plants that otherwise would have been lost forever.

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