Normally, researchers in the Middle East would simply withdraw the seeds they need from a facility in Aleppo, Syria, but due to the instability in the region they can’t. So instead they’ve turned to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which was formed in 2008 to save critical seeds and genetics from a natural or man-made disaster. Although the war in Syria might not be at the level of a nuclear war, it’s still the exact reason that the vault was built in the first place.
The vault has said the researchers will get their seeds as soon as the paperwork is finished. The research group is requesting 116,000 samples out of 860,000 that the vault contains, but they’ll be replenished next year. The researchers are examining drought-resistant crops, and have selected strains of what, barley, and grasses for study.