The conflict in Syria has prevented researchers from accessing the seed bank in Aleppo. This seed bank has genes that can potentially allow researchers to grow crops that will be able to withstand the effects of climate change. Recently, a sister bank was launched in Lebanon, a country which neighbours Syria by the Internation Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). This way, Syrian researchers will be able to utilize the seeds alongside the many seeds in Moroccon Seed bank.
Seed banks store seeds which can be taken out later on to replenish the plants that were lost in the conflict. The goal for this bank is to collect seeds from dry regions in the Middle East. Annually, there are nearly 20,000 samples available for researchers. Many researchers are excited about the move of the bank to Lebanon and hope to continue their research in genetics of the plant seeds.
Although this bank is no longer is Syria, it does, however, border the confilct zone. This means that there could be potential danger in this area as well. Funding is also another problem that ICARDA has to deal with. Despite this, researchers are confident as previous previous conflicts in Lebanon did not disrupt ICARDA’s activities.
Reference: Bhattacharya S.2016. Syrian seed bank gets new home away from war. Nature. 528:16-17