Frösamlingar på museer – ny teknik gör värdelösa föremål värdefulla igen

  • Matti Wiking Leino


Nordic museums hold large collections of seed samples from the 19th century that are probably unique in a world context. These collections were origi- nally assembled for agricultural exhibitions or educational purposes but thereafter stored in the museums and often considered meaningless objects that merely take up space. In the 21th century, however, the importance of seed collections has once again been recognized and they have been given new attention as valuable research materials. The development of molecular biology techniques has made it possible to analyze the genetic composition of seeds even though they are non-viable. In turn, these genetic analyses could help to reveal answers to questions about agricultural history, food quality and authenticity of historical plants. Here, I describe some Nordic seed collections, their research potential and ongoing research projects that make use of these special museum objects.