Saturday, February 23, 2008

Vault of greater value than Fort Knox?

On Tuesday 2008-Feb-26 the Svalbard Global Seed Vault opens. Its purpose is to (physically) store millions of types of seeds to contribute to biological diversity (e.g. of food crops) for future generations, and I am quite sure that they will appreciate it sometime into the future.

Svalbard Global Seed Vault has 3 chambers capable of storing 1.5 million seed samples each, i.e. 4.5 million seed types in total. Since seeds have a limited lifetime (high variance though) they will be incrementally replaced. This replacement process is done by selecting a few seeds from each sample and grow the plant to provide new seeds of that type.

The replacement process seems sustainable, but I would guess there are interesting challenges in growing all kinds of seeds. Probably not very hard for them to find gartners or plant biologists :)

Some pictures of the Vault (also called the Global Crop Diversity Trust):

Entrance (click to zoom)

Building Plan (click to zoom)

Hm, this reminds me of my startup-that-never took-off which was sort of an acronym for "Agent-Based Simulation for Biological Diversity"

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