Re: Preservation of Plant Biodiversity
Ray Ditterline (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thu, 19 Oct 1995 08:36:03 MDT
On October 3, I read with great interest Mr. Paul Raeburn's comment that
fully one-third of the 235,000 seed samples at the National Seed Storage
Laboratory were dead or the germination was presumed to be so low that
the curators were unwilling to remove a sample for any testing. Having
been through the laboratory several times, having observed their
excellent seed storage facility and having observed the work done at the
lab, these figures seemed to be extremely high to me. I forwarded Mr.
Raeburn's message to a very close friend that works for the laboratory and
was told that as of January, 1994 of the 265,064 accessions now at NSSL
258,348 (97.5%) either are backed up in the active collections or the
germination is above 65%. He told me that the labs main concern was about
budget cuts, and not having enough money (people) to do their job.
I tried to get him to respond to Mr. Raeburn's allegations, but was told
that it was not proper for the National Seed Storage Laboratory to get into
a public confrontation on the internet. While I appreciate their position,
I feel the record needs to be set straight.
> From: MX%"email@example.com" 3-OCT-1995 11:37
> To: MX%"firstname.lastname@example.org"
> CC: MX%"email@example.com"
> Subj: Re: preservation of plant biodiversity
> In connection with seed banks, Suzanne, you might be interested to know
> that the Agriculture Department's seed bank system is in a state of
> crisis right now. Dwarfing problems of genetic drift, mentioned by Carol
> Miles, is the problem of poor upkeep. The Ag Department's own figures
> suggest that fully one-third of the 235,000 samples at the National Seed
> Storage Laboratory are either already dead or their germination is
> presumed to be so low
> that curators are unwilling to remove any for testing.
> This is a national scandal, in my opinion, and it has been almost
> entirely overlooked. The documentation of the problem is laid out in my
> book, "The Last Harvest," which I've mentioned on this list before.
> Paul Raeburn