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  • Seed bank raises hopes of Iraqi crop comeback

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Iraqi agriculture is struggling to regain its feet after years of drought, neglect and the aftermath of war.

The revival of the country's agricultural research largely hinges on a 'black box' of more than 200 seed samples, currently held by scientists in Syria. These samples, removed from Iraq in 1996 and stored at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas in Aleppo, contain genetic diversity that is crucial to long-term farm productivity.

But the deteriorating security situation in the country is hindering progress, and a seed bank will be worthless without a functioning agricultural sector to use it.

Link to Nature news story 

Reference: Nature 424, 242 (2003)
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