We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.

The full article is available here as HTML.

Press Ctrl-C to copy

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)