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Millennium Seed Bank

Wellcome Trust Millennium Building, housing the Millennium Seed Bank
Wellcome Trust Millennium Building, housing the Millennium Seed Bank

The Millennium Seed Bank is based at England’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. It is the largest seed bank in the world.

The Millennium Seed Bank has the capacity to store seed from the world’s rare, threatened and useful plant species. It supports plant conservation and use in areas such as food security, water scarcity, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, energy, health and adaptation to climate change.

Kew’s Seed Bank forms the hub of the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership, a consortium of more than 120 plant research institutes in 54 countries around the world. The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership has recently secured seed from 10 per cent of the world’s plant species for the use of current and future generations.

Over the next 10 years, the Partnership will:

  • collect and bank seeds from one-quarter of the world’s plant species
  • enable the use of a wide range of plant species in agriculture, forestry, horticulture, habitat restoration and biodiversity conservation.

Leadership | Website [external link]


Posted: 27 May 2014

As scientists try to find ways to feed the world’s more than 7 billion people, a long-term project being undertaken may, in the future, help secure global food crops for the future that is emerging.

Posted: 16 Oct 2013

Dr Michiel van Slageren recently visited Australia to discuss the crop wild relatives project being undertaken by the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and the Global Crop Diversity Trust.

Musa acuminata subsp. banksii
Posted: 04 Sep 2013

Crop wild relatives are defined as wild plant species that are genetically related to the crop but, unlike the crop, they have not been domesticated. Australia has native relatives of important crop plants, with unique genes adapting them to Australia’s challenging environment.

Posted: 08 Aug 2012

The Australian Seed Bank Partnership is about to launch its 1000 Species Project which is being supported by the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. A fieldwork fund has been made available to Partners who are contributing to this national collecting project. During the 2012/2013 collecting season for the 1000 Species Project, partners will be making collections throughout Australia including the Eyre Peninsula, Norfolk Island, wheatbelt regions, as well as in some of the alpine and sub-alpine, rainforest and heathland habitats.

Posted: 09 Sep 2011

Ed Jones has just spent a year working with Kew's Conservation Biotechnology team investigating different methods of conserving several of the threatened ferns unique to Ascension Island in the South Atlantic.