China to build germplasm bank modelled on 'Noah's Ark'

China to build germplasm bank modelled on 'Noah's Ark'

China to build germplasm bank modelled on 'Noah's Ark'

 China has announced plans to build a state-level germplasm bank of marine medicinal plants and animals on the model of Biblical 'Noah's Ark'.

To be built in southeastern coastal city of Xiamen, the germplasm bank is very much like a 'Noah's Ark' for marine life, said Lin Xiangzhi, a researcher with the State Oceanic Administration and head scientist of the germplasm bank.

With a storage area of 2,000 square meters, the bank will be used to preserve more than 20,000 seed and gene samples from marine medicinal plants, animals and microorganisms, Lin said.

"If some marine plants went extinct, we could take some seeds from the germplasm bank to grow them anew," he said.

Researchers from over 20 universities and research institutes will join the bank to work out key technologies for collection, storage, utilisation and sharing of the seeds and other materials in the germplasm bank, he said.

The germplasm bank is scheduled to be completed by December 2015.

Lin also said the marine life resources bank will help promote the development of China's marine life pharmaceutical industry.

"The Chinese medicinal herbs and related sectors on the land churn out 1 trillion yuan (USD 163.4 billion) in output value each year," Lin said.

"The marine herbal business has just started and it has bright prospects. It also apparently modelled on seed vault was built in Norway preserve varities of seeds for posterity.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was built in Norwegian island of Spitsberg.