Underground seed vault creators named World

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Underground seed vault creators named World Food Prize Laureates

Two scientists were named the 2024 World Food Prize Laureates for their role in creating a back-up vault of the world’s seed varieties.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken says Dr. Geoffrey Hawtin and Dr. Cary Fowler’s efforts have been instrumental in safeguarding the global food supply.

“Through their extraordinary work, Geoffrey and Cary have not only helped protect these plants, they’ve also brought the global community together to strengthen the foundation of our agriculture,” he said. “Today, that is more important than ever.”

The seed vault holds more than 1 million seed samples of more than 6,000 plant species and has already been used in preserving species of chickpeas in the Middle East.

Blinken says Doctors Fowler and Hawtin have done critical work to advance global crop biodiversity.

“A single plant, like sorghum, can have hundred of thousands of varieties, and when one strain is endangered from pest infestation or warming climate, farmers can use another type with genetic adaptations to help it survive,” he said.

The “Doomsday” seed vault sits in an underground bunker in the Arctic Circle. Hawtin and Fowler were also recognized for their work on the Plant Treaty, which was adopted in 2001 to facilitate the global movement of plant genetic resources. The treaty was a critical step in the establishment of the Svalbard seed vault.

Tags: chickpeas, Climate, Commodities, Corn, Crops, food supply, Grains/Oilseeds, Middle East, seeds, sorghum, Soybeans, Wheat, World Food Prize

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