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New seeds deposited in Norway's Svalbard Global Seed Vault

OSLO, May 28 (Xinhua) -- The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, the world's largest repository of crop diversity, welcomed new deposits on Tuesday that raised its total number of seed samples to 1.29 million.

A total of 20,683 seed samples from 15 gene banks were added on Tuesday, including four new contributors: two gene banks in Benin, one in Armenia, and one in Indonesia that deposited seeds for the first time.

This marks the second opening of the vault this year. Operated by the non-profit organization Crop Trust in collaboration with Norwegian authorities, the vault plays a crucial role in preserving the genetic diversity of important food crops.

"Svalbard Global Seed Vault is the world's ultimate security facility for global seed diversity, which is an essential part of countries' preparedness for future food production," Norway's Minister of Agriculture and Food Geir Pollestad said.

Established in 2008, the vault's primary mission is to safeguard the genetic diversity of the world's food plants. It aims to ensure the survival of agricultural and industrial crops against threats like war, terrorism and natural calamities.

With a capacity to hold up to 4.5 million distinct seed varieties, the vault can accommodate duplicates of every unique seed variant stored in global gene banks, as well as any new types procured in the future.