Seed bank in NW China's Xinjiang reserves 500 rare plant species of seeds

The construction has been completed of the sub-center of National Center for Forestry and Grassland Genetic Resources (NCFGGR) in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, with 500 species of seeds reserved to protect biodiversity.

Among the 500 are rare and endangered wild plants, such as Sorbus tianschanica, and 20 kinds of wild plants under first-class state protection in China. Every germplasm resource needs to be handled strictly from collection to storage, and basic information including growth environment, location, soil and seed state are recorded in detail before they are bottled and stored.

"We will carry out the germination experiment by using 50 or 20 collected species of seeds to verify their viability. And then every five or 10 years, we will do the germination experiment of reserved seeds again to ensure every piece of them maintain viability," said Xin Huihui, a researcher of the seedling center under the Xinjiang Forestry and Grassland Bureau.

Xinjiang is home to many rare species of plants from the Eurasian forest-steppes and Psammophyte-Desert Vegetation. A total of 3,962 kinds of vascular plants grow here, among which 269 are endemic to Xinjiang and 177 endangered and under protection.

The Xinjiang branch of the NCFGGR has two long-term banks and one medium-term bank, which can store 80,000 species of seeds with a storage period of 100 years or more.

"If the germplasm we collected become extinct because of weather disasters, human sabotage or pests, we can take it out and restore the species," said Wang Zilong, deputy director of the seedling center.

(Cover images via VCG)

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