Banking the genes: Preserving the genetic information about our plants

Schematic depiction of Genes (© Flickr/OLCF)

Many of the crops we ate just a century ago have disappeared from the face of the earth. Scientists are responding to the threat of further genetic erosion by storing seed samples of threatened varieties of agricultural crops in gene banks. This programme features a huge walk-in freezer with thousands of seed specimens. Hélène Michaud visits the Dutch gene bank and also a less sophisticated but equally effective alternative.

Producer: Hélène Michaud

Broadcast: November 15, 2002