The Plant Germplasm Preservation Research Unit, is part of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). The National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation (NCGRP) is in Fort Collins, CO. They collect, store, test and research both plant and animal genetic resources.
The National Seed Storage Laboratory is part of the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation.
The seed storage lab “opened in 1958 and was expanded in 1992. • Seeds are packaged in moisture proof foil bags for cold vault storage (-18°C; 0°F). • Cryogenically (liquid nitrogen, -196°C; -320°F) stored seeds are sealed in polyole n tubes.”
“The testing and storage protocols developed at NCGRP are shared with other researchers and genebanks and our expertise is used worldwide.” “Seeds are evaluated for viability (tested for germination or dormancy) before and during storage”.
They recently sent seed to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway which “included a wild Russian strawberry that an expeditionary team braved bears and volcanoes to collect.”
Field collection of seeds can be a very adventurous scientific career. Collecting seed from your own garden is usually less exciting — but equally important. I hope you saved some from last year for use in your garden this year. Please subscribe to this blog for continuing stories about seeds.