The United Empire Loyalists of Canada - Bicentennial Branch (Southwestern Ontario)
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Harrow seeds in Doomsday Vault - information taken from the Windsor Star - February 27, 2008

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, also known as the Doomsday Vault, opened in February on a Norwegian island in the Arctic Circle. Seeds from around the world have been locked in this vault to be preserved and protected in case of disaster. Old or rare varieties of plants that are no longer grown or indigenous plants that have become extinct in the wild may have traits needed to resist disease and respond to environmental issues. For this reason scientists are saving 268,000 seed samples from around the world.

Bicentennial Branch President Margie Luffman, curator of the Canadian Clonal Genebank in Harrow, describes the Doomsday Vault as a 'Noah's Ark' of seeds. "If all the crops and everything were wiped out, people would be able to go to this place to get seeds and germplasm (genetic material) to start anew."

Canada sent 5,936 seed samples representing 94 species from the national seed bank in Saskatoon, including 109 varieties of soybeans that were grown at the Greenhouse and Processing Crops Research Centre in Harrow.While the Canadian Clonal Genebank in Harrow didn't contribute to the Global Seed Vault it does protect 3,400 unique lines of fruit, from apple trees to strawberry plants, in orchards and specialized greenhouses.

The genebank has sent 50 apple cultivars to be cryopreserved at -150C at a U.S. Department of Agriculture facility in Colorado.


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