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Preparation of the seed shipment from CIAT. Photo by CIAT

Seed deposit guidelines

All genebanks in the world are welcome to make use of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, as long as they agree with the principles of operation and meet the requirements which can be consulted in the Deposit Agreement. A general flow chart of the deposit process can be seen [here]. If you are a genebank collection holder interested in using the Seed Vault for safety duplication, please contact us at The Annex of the Deposit Agreement lays out the minimum requirements for the Quality, Quantity, Packing, Inventory and Shipment of Deposit Material.

Data accompanying the deposits

Please read this part carefully!

An electronic inventory of the samples to be deposited at the Seed Vault must be submitted at least six weeks in advance of the planned date of shipping. This inventory shall comprise the following data:
Mandatory fields
  • Institute code: WIEWS Institute Code for the institute holding the genebank accession. (You may access the WIEWS institute database at
  • Deposit box number: Give each box in your shipment a unique number, and record here those numbers. Do not use decimal numbers or letters, only integer numbers: (1, 2, 3, 4, ...). Use successive numbers for successive shipments (e.g. if your first shipment consisted of 35 boxes the boxes in the following shipment shall list boxes from 36 and upwards). If you have sent boxes with test samples in addition to your deposit boxes these shall also be counted.
  • Collection name: If your genebank uses parallel numbering systems for different collections, give here the name of the collection, e.g. Bean Collection
  • Accession number: As registered in your genebank. Please make sure that the combination of Institute Code, Collection name and Accession number together will uniquely identify the accession at the global level.
  • Full scientific name: Genus species subspecies, including Authority and year of description if available.
  • Country of collection or source: Where the accession is originally from. Please use ISO-3166-1 (alpha 3) country codes if possible. In case of unknown country, please use the official ISO code XXX (ISO/IEC 7501-1).
  • Number of seeds: This number can be based on a full count or on an estimate from the weight of the sample.
  • Regeneration month and year: The harvest year is mandatory to be able to identify the regeneration cycle of the seed sample.
Recommended fields
  • Other accession designations: You may report other accession designations here (I.e. accession number for the same accession in another genebank). A semi-colon should separate each designation.
  • Accession name: If relevant, report accession name. This will help in identifying possible duplicates in SGSV.
  • Accession URL: If possible, consider reporting an url to any online database providing further information and reference.

Data submission template

The depositor shall submit the inventory using the data submission template. The inventory can be provided as an MS Excel spreadsheet (.xls), tab-separated values (.txt, .tsv, .tab), comma-separated values (.csv) or as XML Data. Please contact us if you would like to provide the data in another file or data format.

The template can be sent by email to the staff at Seed Vault The list of accessions should be reported before shipment of the seeds. A print-out of the inventory list should also be included inside each seed box.
Potatoes, Solanum tuberosum
Potatoes, Solanum tuberosum, photo CGIAR

If the file is zipped or compressed (file extension .zip or .gz) the files will be automatically unzipped by the data import routine. When reporting tab-separated values (.txt) or comma separated values (.csv), please follow the same descriptor names as outlined in the template. The order of the columns is less important, but do not alter the name of the columns! You may use underscore in the place of spaces in the descriptor names if this is useful for you. Please make sure not to report tabs or system characters inside the data values. Please do not include line breaks inside the data values.
You may of course also report using the MS Excel spreadsheet template as above, but the MS Excel format is no requirement.

Seed Portal of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, Seed Portal will link to further detailed germplasm information from the new global accession level data portal (GENESYS) under development by Bioversity International and supported by the Global Crop Diversity Trust. The Seed Portal of the Seed Vault (and the data submission template) will thus only include the minimum descriptors needed for the Seed Vault logistics, and for linking to the GENESYS portal []. Each seed depositor will be responsible for loading further details on the seed samples to the global accession level data portal (GENESYS).