SPITSBERGEN ISLAND, Norway, March 12 (UPI) -- A rare wild Russian strawberry is included in the latest shipment of seed sent to Norway for preservation in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, officials said.
The strawberry's seed was collected from the island of Iturip in Far Eastern Russia in 2003 and then shared with researchers at the National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Corvallis, Ore.
The Fragaria iturupensis seed was among 10,552 samples of seed recently sent to the seed vault by the Agricultural Research Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that promotes international food security.
The service has sent three seed shipments since January 2008, with the most recent shipment including wild and cultivated soybeans, semi-dwarf wheat and rice cultivars, USDA officials said in a release Thursday.
The vault, which now contains 511,000 seed collections, is built into the side of a mountain on Spitsbergen Island, located midway between Norway's northernmost coast and the North Pole.