Xinhua (China)
July 30, 2009

ANKARA, July 30 (Xinhua) — Turkey laid foundation on Thursday for a seed gene storing center in Ankara that would contain the genes of 250,000 plant species, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

Turkey’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Minister Mehmet Mehdi Eker said at the ground-breaking ceremony that the center would become the world’s third biggest one after those in the United States and China.

The seed gene bank, for which construction was expected to be finished this December, would protect seeds collected within and outside Turkey for use in scientific experiments, Eker was quoted as saying.

The project would activate the agricultural potential of Turkey, which is rich in biological diversity with 3,905 of the world’s 12,000 endemic plant species on its territory, said Eker.

"Turkey should be aware of this richness and preserve this for the whole humanity," said Eker, noting that industrialization and urbanization had impaired the diversity of genetic resources.