The final design for a “doomsday” vault that will house seeds from all known varieties of food crops has been unveiled by the Norwegian government.
“The Svalbard International Seed Vault will be built into a mountainside on a remote island near the North Pole. The vault aims to safeguard the world’s agriculture from future catastrophes, such as nuclear war, asteroid strikes and climate change.”
“There are, for instance, well over 100,000 distinct varieties of rice, compared to the 400 or so breeds of dog out there,” Cary Fowler, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, told LiveScience. “These represent all the options that crops have for developing in the future, the raw material for plant evolution.”
These distinct varieties may possess extraordinary and possibly unique traits in terms of taste, nutritional quality, pest and disease resistance, or adaptability to various environments. For example, some rice species can grow as much as 20 feet underwater, Fowler explained, or in semi-arid conditions.