Crop Biotech Update

Svalbard Global Seed Vault Receives First Deposits from Serbia and Latvia

November 10, 2021
The delegation from Latvia at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault during the October deposit. Photo Source: NordGen

In a unique milestone, Serbia and Latvia have made the first-ever deposits of their local varieties into the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in October 2021. Serbia deposited 96 accessions while Latvia had 153 seed samples of 30 different species.

The first Serbian deposit made by the Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops (IFVCNS) was supported by the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and included varieties of wheat, rye, barley, and oats. Half of the varieties that were deposited into the Global Seed Vault were obtained from collection missions in remote agricultural areas from farmers that still cultivate old varieties and local landraces of major cereals. The team also documented local practices of cultivation of the crops and the traditional methods of food preparation. Besides collection missions, the varieties also came from the National Small Grains Collection maintained by the United States Department of Agriculture. The varieties were originally collected from Serbia but were no longer available in farmers' fields.

Latvia's Genetic Resource Center/LMVI 'Silava' deposited agriculturally and culturally important varieties of barley, flax, and wheat. Wheat took mostly half of the number of deposited seed samples, but grey peas, dill, and caraway are also included in the deposit. The Center worked to generate the seed samples for Svalbard for three years.

Representatives from the Nordic Genetic Resource Center (NordGen) attended the deposit and met with delegations from Serbia and Latvia together with representatives from the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture and Food. The October deposit also marks the first deposit since the COVID pandemic began. Samples and deposits from the International Livestock Research Institute and the International Wheat and Maize Improvement Center were also received during the event. A total of 1,125,416 seed samples are stored in the Seed Vault, with the next deposit scheduled to be carried out in February 2022.

For more details, read the news articles on NordGen and IFVCNS website.

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