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Pictures | Tue Dec 15, 2015 | 9:50pm IST

Inside the doomsday seed vault

An ice covered entrance door to the international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015.  The vault, which opened on the Svalbard archipelago in 2008, is designed to protect crop seeds, such as beans, rice and wheat against the worst cataclysms of nuclear war or disease. REUTERS/Anna Filipova

An ice covered entrance door to the international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015. The vault, which opened on the Svalbard archipelago in 2008, is designed to protect crop seeds,...more

An ice covered entrance door to the international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015. The vault, which opened on the Svalbard archipelago in 2008, is designed to protect crop seeds, such as beans, rice and wheat against the worst cataclysms of nuclear war or disease. REUTERS/Anna Filipova
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International gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 19, 2015. Two consignments of crop seeds will be deposited next year in a "doomsday vault" built in an Arctic mountainside to safeguard global supplies.  REUTERS/Anna Filipova

International gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 19, 2015. Two consignments of crop seeds will be deposited next year in a "doomsday vault" built in an Arctic mountainside to safeguard global...more

International gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 19, 2015. Two consignments of crop seeds will be deposited next year in a "doomsday vault" built in an Arctic mountainside to safeguard global supplies. REUTERS/Anna Filipova
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Plastic boxes on shelves hold seeds from the Icarda in Syria at the international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015. The empty space are the missing boxes sent back when Syria requested the first-ever withdrawal of seeds from the Svalbard's Global Seed Vault earlier this year.  REUTERS/Anna Filipova

Plastic boxes on shelves hold seeds from the Icarda in Syria at the international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015. The empty space are the missing boxes sent back when Syria...more

Plastic boxes on shelves hold seeds from the Icarda in Syria at the international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015. The empty space are the missing boxes sent back when Syria requested the first-ever withdrawal of seeds from the Svalbard's Global Seed Vault earlier this year. REUTERS/Anna Filipova
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Seeds are stored on shelves at the international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Anna Filipova

Seeds are stored on shelves at the international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Anna Filipova

Seeds are stored on shelves at the international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Anna Filipova
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The entrance tunnel to the international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015.  REUTERS/Anna Filipova

The entrance tunnel to the international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Anna Filipova

The entrance tunnel to the international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Anna Filipova
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Asmund Asdal Senior Adviser from NordGen inspects seeds in storage at the international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015.  REUTERS/Anna Filipova

Asmund Asdal Senior Adviser from NordGen inspects seeds in storage at the international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Anna Filipova

Asmund Asdal Senior Adviser from NordGen inspects seeds in storage at the international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Anna Filipova
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A worker opens the iced entrance door to storeroom 1 at international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015.  REUTERS/Anna Filipova

A worker opens the iced entrance door to storeroom 1 at international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Anna Filipova

A worker opens the iced entrance door to storeroom 1 at international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Anna Filipova
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Asmund Asdal, Senior Adviser from NordGen, holds 4 different samples of rice seeds from the Philippines at the International gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Anna Filipova

Asmund Asdal, Senior Adviser from NordGen, holds 4 different samples of rice seeds from the Philippines at the International gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Anna Filipova

Asmund Asdal, Senior Adviser from NordGen, holds 4 different samples of rice seeds from the Philippines at the International gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Anna Filipova
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Aluminium bags with the seeds inside are seen at the international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Anna Filipova

Aluminium bags with the seeds inside are seen at the international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Anna Filipova

Aluminium bags with the seeds inside are seen at the international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Anna Filipova
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Empty storage room 2 at the international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015.  REUTERS/Anna Filipova

Empty storage room 2 at the international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Anna Filipova

Empty storage room 2 at the international gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) near Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Anna Filipova
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A worker carries a box of seeds into the main storage room during the opening ceremony of the Global Seed Vault in Longyearbyen February 26, 2008. REUTERS/Bob Strong

A worker carries a box of seeds into the main storage room during the opening ceremony of the Global Seed Vault in Longyearbyen February 26, 2008. REUTERS/Bob Strong

A worker carries a box of seeds into the main storage room during the opening ceremony of the Global Seed Vault in Longyearbyen February 26, 2008. REUTERS/Bob Strong
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A guard stands watch outside the Global Seed Vault before the opening ceremony in Longyearbyen February 26, 2008. REUTERS/Bob Strong

A guard stands watch outside the Global Seed Vault before the opening ceremony in Longyearbyen February 26, 2008. REUTERS/Bob Strong

A guard stands watch outside the Global Seed Vault before the opening ceremony in Longyearbyen February 26, 2008. REUTERS/Bob Strong
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Journalists gather near the entrance to the Global Seed Vault in Longyearbyen February 25, 2008.  REUTERS/Bob Strong

Journalists gather near the entrance to the Global Seed Vault in Longyearbyen February 25, 2008. REUTERS/Bob Strong

Journalists gather near the entrance to the Global Seed Vault in Longyearbyen February 25, 2008. REUTERS/Bob Strong
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Pedestrians walk down the main street in the arctic town of Longyearbyen February 24, 2008.  REUTERS/Bob Strong (NORWAY)

Pedestrians walk down the main street in the arctic town of Longyearbyen February 24, 2008. REUTERS/Bob Strong (NORWAY)

Pedestrians walk down the main street in the arctic town of Longyearbyen February 24, 2008. REUTERS/Bob Strong (NORWAY)
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