Afghan gene bank destroyed by looters

September 13, 2002

Looters have destroyed Afghanistan's largest gene bank, destroying hundreds of samples of the country's agricultural heritage. Among the crops destroyed were pomegranate, pistachio and chickpea.

The revelation emerged just a week after Imperial College academic Chris Higgins told the Earth Summit that the world's gene banks were in jeopardy.

He announced a £169 million endowment fund by the soon-to-be launched Global Conservation Trust to ensure the maintenance of an estimated 1,470 gene banks and the 5.4 million plant samples that they hold.

The samples in the Afghan collection had been stored in plastic jars and hidden in houses in the cities of Ghazni and Jalalabad. The looters dumped the seed and took the containers.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns