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Seed banks, defined broadly, are centralized places where crop genetic diversity is protected and made available for use by farmers, gardeners, breeders, and researchers. Seed banks, often located at national and international agricultural research institutions, preserve crop genetic diversity ex situ (i.e., out of place), in contrast to in situ conservation, which is carried out in farmers’ fields or in adjacent wild areas. Interest in community seed banks (or seed libraries) is growing nationally and internationally as places for short-term storage of locally adapted crop varieties and promotion of seed sovereignty and education.

Most crops are propagated sexually via seed and conserved in seed banks as “orthodox seeds” (e.g., grains and legumes). However, many other crops have seeds that do not store well (e.g., most ...

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