Russia's federal seed cryobank in Siberia was opened Wednesday, RIA Novosti news agency reported.
The seed bank, at the Permafrost Institute in Yakutsk, capital city of Saha-Yakutia republic in eastern Siberia, occupies an area of 110 square meters and is located in the permafrost at a depth of 9 meters.
It is designed for the long-term storage of up to 100,000 samples of agricultural, rare, endangered, tree and other seeds.
Natural cold air will be let into the cryobank from December 2012 to February 2013. Then the existing collection of seeds, which has been stored in the underground laboratory of the Permafrost Institute since 1970, will be put into the bank.
Some 10.6 million rubles (350,000 U.S. dollars) were spent on the construction of the Yakutian seed bank in 2011 and 2012.
The bank will also receive seed collections from other institutions in Russia, beginning next year.
In the longer term, a second phase will be built to store up to a million samples.