News & AnalysisPlant Biology

Banking Seeds for Future Evolutionary Scientists

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Science  23 Sep 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6050, pp. 1693
DOI: 10.1126/science.333.6050.1693

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Last week, the National Science Foundation awarded a group of plant evolutionary biologists $1.2 million to spend the next 4 years collecting and banking seeds that won't be used until 5, 10, or even 50 years from now. Proponents of the new effort are betting that the next generations of evolutionary biologists will be eager to break into this time capsule. Comparing plants grown from the stored seeds with plants collected decades from now will allow researchers to look more objectively at how a species reacts to global warming, species invasions, new land-use patterns, or other changes in their surroundings.