What is Beal seed viability experiment?

The Beal Seed Viability Experiment was begun by William James Beam. He was an American Botanist who worked at the Michigan State University.

What is Beal Seed Viability Experiment?

  • In 1879, Beal began one of the longest running experiments in botany. The experiment aims to study how long a weed can stay dormant in agricultural fields.
  • Beal filled twenty bottles with a mixture of seed and sand. Each bottle consisted of fifty seeds from twenty-one different species. These bottles were buried with their necks pointing down to exclude water.
  • The main objective of the experiment was to unearth the bottles every five years. And then plant these seeds to observe how many of the seeds sprouted.
  • Later, the botanists who continued the experiment extended it to opening the bottle once in ten years. And now it has been extended to once in twenty years.
  • This experiment is still running in the soil of Michigan State University. The study is due to end in 2100.
  • So far, the experiment has run for 142 years.

Findings of Beal Seed Viability Experiment

In 2002, the Beal Seed Viability Experiment founded that some weed seeds are capable of surviving even hundred years if placed in an uncorked bottle with sand buried into soil.

Doomsday Vault

The Doomsday Vault is a seed bank. It houses samples of more than one million crop varieties from five thousand different species. Around two-fifth of the world seed varieties are stored in the vault. It is located in the Arctic region in the Island of Spitsbergen.


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