This is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agriculture Research Service (ARS) National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation (NCGRP) National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) cold storage vault, in Ft. Collins, CO on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013. This secure, long-term storage facility contains nearly 1 million samples of more than 13,200 plant species from the NPGS and from other international plant gene banks, as well as other U.S. government land management agencies. Most of the samples are preserved in the form of seeds. Some germplasm is also preserved as buds, cuttings, and tissue cultures. The 20 NPGS gene banks across the U.S. safeguard, study, and distribute these plant samples, each collected at a particular time and place, including modern and old varieties, wild relatives of crop plants, and genetic stocks. Seeds are packaged in moisture proof foil bags for cold vault storage at -18 Â°C (0 Â°F). The packets of seeds are organized in high-density rolling shelves. NCGRP seed preservation protocols are based on more than 50 years of experience and research. The facility opened in 1958 and was expanded in 1992. Preservation of diversity of plant genetic resources helps farmers and conservationists face challenges from climatic change, the spread of new diseases, destructive pests, and abiotic stresses such as drought and salinity. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.
May 22, 2014
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