Latest on the Egyptian Deserts Gene Bank

We’ve heard more from El-Sayed Mohamed El-Azazi, who’s doing a PhD at the Desert Research Centre on seed conservation of Acacia spp. (“Ecophysiological studies for some Acacia species grown in Egyptian Deserts and its conservation in gene bank” is the title). You’ll remember that the place was looted a few days ago, and people are justifiably worried about the Egyptian Deserts Gene Bank housed by the institute.

El-Sayed is adamant that the seeds and field genebank are safe. However, it is clear that the laboratories have been thoroughly trashed, and a lot of equipment broken or taken.

Along with the computers went a lot of data. El-Sayed says he has lost some of his PhD data. And the genebank’s database seems to be gone, although the passport data is still around in hardcopy. There are about 1100 accessions in the genebank, of about 750 wild plant species.

Which brings up a point that’s maybe not often addressed. And that is that the desirability of safety duplication goes as much for the data about germplasm accessions as for the seeds themselves.

A Svalbard for data, anyone?

14 Replies to “Latest on the Egyptian Deserts Gene Bank”

  1. Devastating images to me, I spent more than 6 month in this place, and I was proud of its existence. Yet it’s good to know that the material is safe, the rest could be restored. For duplicating data I think Genesys is a good option.

    1. Sorry to be so glum, but I find it hard to believe that a national organization didn’t have a functioning back-up plan for data. There must have been one, no?

  2. For something like $50 per year we can have 50GB of storage space on an offshore server that synchronizes with multiple computers. That is more than enough for most text based databases.

    I am using Dropbox – a very user-friendly example of a cloud computing service.

    Thanks for the updates about the situation in Egypt. We all have something to learn from this.

  3. Desert Research Center disaster
    It makes no sense to be centers of research and science in particular very specialized place that attracts thugs and criminals and saboteurs, and pass it unnoticed, but the top news ruin consumption centers newspapers while retreating News ruin platforms scientific and research in the last list of concerns, as if the science and research area well-being???? ?!!!!!!! To turn the force unless God …
    This incident took place at the Center for Desert Research in the rain of the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture ..
    Dr. Yasser: “I went back on Monday, 7 February for the first time the headquarters of the practical status of the Desert Research Cener in Matarya Cairo and shocked by what I saw there the process of sabotage, looting and widespread looting of the Centre was stolen between 300-400 computer including Tanote of special data testing and research Bbagesy Centre This is many air-conditioners and refrigerators, incubators, telephones and other …. was the robbery on Friday, January 28 and said it was during the period from 1-5 am, when loaded the stolen goods on the private car place, and fled out to the outside of the center has been restoring some cars and some devices broken to date loss ….. loss of equipment not only the largest data loss on the hardware Elly Hqy scientists and researchers for years … strange silence from all public and media are visible and audible and legible … but the most important Malmsth today despite a case of what we will and determination to all to rebuild the center and continue the search under the current circumstances. Yes, the center was looted and stolen a lot of organs, but we direct our message to these thieves and we still alive and able to work and build “

  4. Egyptian deserts Gene Bank restoration work agian
    Are now working plans and projects under the Rehabilitation of Egyptian deserts Gene Bank (EDGB)
    We started in the inventory and purchase necessary equipment
    Combining the work of Missions

  5. Greetings to all, now I can confirm that we have been rebuilding the Egyptian deserts gene bank in new form during the year and a half. Egypt’s youth have proven that we can do the impossible.
    Mohamed Amar PhD
    Head of the Egyptian Deserts Gene Bank,
    North Sinai
    Desert Research Center CAIRO – EGYPT

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