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Seed bank seeds

Seed bank seeds

G350/0860

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Credit

JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Seed bank seeds. Dried seeds in jars prior to cold storage. These seeds are being stored as part of the Millennium Seed Bank Project, an international effort aimed at safeguarding seeds from 30,000 species. This will represent 10 percent of all the world's flowering plants. Seeds arrive from researchers around the world. They are cleaned, assessed for viability, dried and then stored in a dark vault at minus 20 degrees Celsius. Each jar is numbered and barcoded for identification. Most seeds are still viable after several years of cold storage, but some must be replaced frequently. In 2007 the seed bank contained over a billion seeds from over 18,000 species, making it the largest wild seed collection in the world.

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