Prof. Igor Loskutov Seed Archives
Prof. Igor Loskutov
27 September 2017
The second season of After the Archive? talks series started with a presentation by one of the largest and most prominent seed archives in the world; St. Petersburg’s Vavilov Institute of Plant Genetic Resources (VIR). Professor Igor G. Loskutov from VIR talks about his institution’s history, collection of seeds, preservation methods and particularly the seed collection missions conducted in Turkey.
The institute was founded as the Bureau of Applied Botany in 1894. In 1968 it was renamed after Prof. Nikolai Vavilov, in time for its 75th anniversary. It holds more than 380,000 samples of seeds, roots and fruits of some 2,500 food crop species. Nikolai Vavilov was the head of VIR from 1924 to 1936. He was a prominent Russian botanist and geneticist best known for having identified the centres of origin of cultivated plants. Vavilov was determined from an early age to end famine in Russia and the world. He devoted his life to the study and enhancement of wheat, corn, and other cereal crops that sustain the global population. During the early 1930s he became the target of the Lysenkoist campaign and was exiled. In 1943, he died of starvation in prison. Vavilov led 115 expeditions to 64 countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, Taiwan, Korea, Spain, Algeria, Palestine, Eritrea, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Mexico and the US, to collect seeds of crop varieties and their wild ancestors. Between 1924 and 1926 scientists from VIR had made expeditions to Turkey, collecting over 10,000 seed samples.
About Prof. Igor Loskutov:
Prof. Loskutov is the Head of VIR Department of Genetic Resources of Oat, Barley, Rye and Curator of Oat Collection. He is the author of several publications including N.I.Vavilov and his Institute: History of the World Collection of Plant Genetic Resources in Russia (1999). Among his several field works Prof. Loskutov has taken part in seed collecting missions to Turkey in 1985 and 1989. He is currently professor of Faculty of Biology and Soil Science at the St. Petersburg State University.