Spitsbergen: a visit into the bowels of the bank of bio-diversity

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A great but tainted notion for some, a treasure trove for others: the Svalbard Global Seed Vault has been described variously as a 'Noah's Ark', 'Garden of Eden' and a 'world treasure'. It is a very special vault, wedged smack into the frozen heart of an Arctic archipelago near the North Pole, designed to hold and preserve seed samples of every food crop in the world. In the first of this two-part report, Mathilde Goanec in Spitsbergen (photo) takes us on a guided tour.

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A great but tainted notion for some, a treasure trove for others: the Svalbard Global Seed Vault has been described variously as a 'Noah's Ark', 'Garden of Eden' and a 'world treasure'. It is a very special storgae vault, wedged smack into the frozen heart of an Arctic archipelago near the North Pole, designed to hold and preserve seed samples of every food crop in the world. In the first of this two-part report, Mathilde Goanec in Spitsbergen takes us on a guided tour.