Crop Biotech Update

IAEA and FAO Send Seeds to Space

November 9, 2022

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launched seeds into space as part of their initiative to develop crops that can withstand the impacts of climate change.

The Arabidopsis and sorghum seeds are traveling to the International Space Station staring November 7, 2022, at the same time when leaders met at the UN Climate Change Conference COP 27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, to tackle the environmental challenges that we are facing today, including the impact of climate change on agrifood systems.

“The world's millions of smallholder farmers urgently require resilient, high-quality seeds adapted to increasingly challenging growing conditions. Innovative science like space breeding of improved crop varieties can help pave the road to a brighter future of better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu.

The seeds will be exposed inside and outside the International Space Station for approximately three months and will return to Earth for planting. They will be evaluated for useful traits to better understand space mutagenesis and identify new varieties that can withstand climate change.

Read more from FAO.

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