Okayama University


First deposit from Japan - Barley seeds are preserved in Svalbard Global Seed Vault

March 14, 2014

Professor Kazuhiro Sato from the Institute of Plant Science and Resources (IPSR) visited the "Svalbard Global Seed Vault" (Spitsbergen island, Svalbard islands, Norway), the world's largest facility, which preserves a great variety of plant seeds from all around the world on February 25 and deposited 575 strains of barley seed samples (300 grains each) brought from IPSR. These barley seeds are important genetic resources as the bases for crop improvements for food security of human beings, and by storing them in the Vault, long-term safety will be guaranteed.

The barley seeds have been collected from various locations around the world for about 70 years and kept in IPSR including many lost strains for cultivation. Currently, they are distributed to domestic and foreign scientists by National BioResource Project carried out by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. East Asian areas, especially Japan, Korean Peninsula, China Nepal and other areas, are regions of high barley genetic diversity and IPSR has become the center of preservation and distribution of these barleys which are considered as one of the top five precious genetic resources in the world.

Professor Sato deposited the plant seeds for the first time from Japan in the presence of Marie Haga, the Executive Director of Global Crop Diversity Trust (established by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) which manages the Vault.
Currently, about 800,000 different kinds of seeds are preserved in the Vault, and the barley seeds will be preserved at -18 degree as well. IPSR is planning to deposit 5,000 strains of barleys in total. The genetic diversity of all these strains are used to carry out basic researches to overcome unfavorable environment and to develop new cultivars in the future.