Seed banks contain the seeds of many different kinds of plants collected from different places for the purposes of preserving genetic variations or plants in general. There are over 100 seed banks in the world, with the most well known one being that of the Svalbard International Seed Bank in Norway.

In the Svalbard International Seed Bank, seeds from all around the world are frozen and kept in case of catastrophic plant extinctions.

Advantages of seed banks[edit | edit source]

Storage of seeds in seed banks protects them from extinction, climate change, drought, destruction of habitat and failure to care for plants properly.

Seed banks can help to maintain a diversity of plants that are no longer grown because they're not considered commercially or otherwise desirable. Local varieties of seeds that are no longer planted because a newer variety has a benefit the farmer or gardener prefers can be stored in case their genes and strengths are once again needed some day later.

Seeds can be used to reintroduce extinct plants to the wild.

Drawbacks of seed banks[edit | edit source]

Seeds can only be stored in seed banks if they can be dried out first. This limitation means that many types of seeds cannot be stored. Other limits include the fact that some seeds will die if not germinated within a specific time and most seeds need to be germinated at some stage and new seeds collected to replace them, to ensure their viability.

Another disadvantage of storing seeds in seed banks is that the seeds don't evolve to cope with environmental changes. If such seeds are reintroduced to an area, they may not have the capacity to cope with conditions that have changed over time, not having had the chance to adapt in the original environment.

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Authors Felicity
License CC-BY-SA-3.0
Language English (en)
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Created January 22, 2016 by Felicity
Modified December 28, 2022 by Irene Delgado
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