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Millennium Seed Bank celebrates 20 years of preserving plant heritage

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Vaults at the Millennium Seed Bank
Vaults at the Millennium Seed Bank   -   Copyright  Euronews
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The Millennium Seed bank is celebrating 20 years of saving rare and threatened plants.

It's been dubbed the Noah's Ark for plants and has a collection of more than 2.4 billion seeds.

Scientists there have collected and stored seeds of more than 39,000 plant species.

Michael Way, the Conservation Partnership Co-ordinator at Kew Millennium Seed Bank, says the role of the bank is to exploit the natural ability of plants to stay dormant for decades.

"The low temperatures at which they are stored (-20C) mean they can be preserved for decades and re-awakened when required, he said."

Way added that two-in-five plants around the world are threatened and it's the bank's job to try and preserve them.

He added that there was a huge amount of drought and pest resistance that can be found in wild plants and the bank will be focusing on collecting those over the coming years.