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The Middle East

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Kew staff with colleagues from Jordan's National Center for Agricultural Research and Extension. Credit: Andrew McRobb.

The MSB has been working in the Middle East since 2000 to collect and conserve seeds from this diverse region. With existing partners from the Mediterranean Sea to the Arabian Sea this is a growth area for the Millennium Seed Bank where we are actively creating new partnerships and projects.

Current projects

Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change: The Crop Wild Relatives Project

Funder: Global Crop Trust

The Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) in collaboration with the Crop Trust is engaged in a project called 'Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change'. The main objective is to collect, protect and prepare the wild relatives of the world's most important food crops, in a form that plant breeders can readily use to produce varieties adapted to the future climatic conditions that farmers in the developing world will soon be encountering.

The partner for the CWR project in the Middle East is:
LebanonLebanese Agricultural Research Institute

Lebanon joined the project in 2015 for three years to make 356 collections of crop wild relatives from across Lebanon. The seed collection phase of this project is almost complete, with 218 collections already at the MSB, and the remainder being cleaned and regenerated where necessary. Seed material is now being sent out to pre-breeders.

Websites: www.kew.org/science/projects/adapting-agriculture-to-climate-change & www.cwrdiversity.org

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C4 Project

Funder: Grantham Foundation

The project aims to collect plants that use C4 photosynthetic pathways, along with C3 sister species, to increase the provision of material for research into the genes and proteins resulting in C4 pathways. Over two years, ARO will focus on building wild seed resources of 50 taxa new to the MSBP. The Agricultural Research Organisation of Israel's Volcani Centre (ARO) joined this project in 2016.

The partner for the C4 project in the Middle East is:
IsraelAgricultural Research Organisation, Volcani Centre

MSBP partners in Australia are also involved in the C4 project.


National Seed Conservation Programmes

Funder: Arcadia

The Agricultural Research Organisation of Israel's Volcani Centre (ARO) is collecting the rare, endangered and medicinal plants of Israel in this two year project (2018-2020), conserving at least 40 species currently not held in ex situ collections at the MSB, and over 100 seed accessions.

The partner for this National Seed Conservation Programme in the Middle East is:
IsraelAgricultural Research Organisation, Volcani Centre