Botanists opened a 'seed conservation and multiplication station' at a farm in Charly near Lyon on Thursday, in which varieties of plants lost to war and industrialisation will be brought back to life in order to help combat the effects of climate change and to support greater biodiversity.
The joint venture between Russia's Vavilov Institute and France's Applied Botanical Resource Centre (CRBA... Еще) will see a variety of seeds planted as part of an effort to develop biodiversity to counter the effects of global warming and identify plants resistant to drought and disease.
As part of its opening, guests planted seeds of a 17th century corn variety, a Russian sunflower and a black bean.
The centre's budget is €400,000 (US$452,000) per year. It includes a documentation centre, a greenhouse lab and a shop.
Since it began in 1894, Russia's Vavilov Institute has a collection of 345,000 different types of seeds in an effort to safeguard them from extinction.