Inside the Svalbard Seed Vault | Summary and Q&A

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May 4, 2016
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Veritasium
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Inside the Svalbard Seed Vault

TL;DR

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a secure facility located in the Arctic that safeguards millions of plant seeds to ensure future food crop diversity.

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Key Insights

  • 🚵 The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located deep in a mountain to utilize natural permafrost conditions for temperature control.
  • 🏦 The vault serves as a backup for other gene banks worldwide, ensuring the preservation of agricultural diversity.
  • 🥺 The Syrian conflict led to the first withdrawal of seeds from the vault, highlighting its vital role in safeguarding global crop species.
  • 🤨 The vault's construction and maintenance come with a significant cost, raising discussions about the necessity and value of such preservation efforts.

Transcript

So this is like the world's most important freezer? It is. Really. laughs The most important room in the world, someone has said. These are pretty big claims for a place located just 1300 km, or 800 miles from the north pole. But then, this is no ordinary place. It's the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Well, actually, this is just it's front door. In... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How does the seed vault work?

The seed vault functions like a bank vault, with seeds stored in sealed boxes. Only depositors have access to their seeds, and the facility has strict security protocols in place.

Q: Can anyone deposit seeds in the vault?

Only authorized depositors can access the vault. Depositors must sign a contract and go through a security screening process before their seeds are accepted.

Q: Are genetically modified seeds stored in the vault?

No, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault does not allow genetically modified seeds. Norway, the country overseeing the vault, prohibits the storage of genetically modified materials.

Q: Are there any unusual or exotic seeds stored in the vault?

While there are no strange or weird crops stored, the vault occasionally receives inquiries from individuals seeking to deposit their private seeds or gene material, which are not accepted.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located in the Arctic and consists of a series of tunnels buried deep within a mountain.

  • The facility is built to withstand natural disasters and store seeds at a constant low temperature to ensure their long-term preservation.

  • The vault currently houses nearly a million different seed varieties but has the capacity to store over a billion seeds in total.

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