Saudi, China scientists decode date-palm tree DNA

Dec 08, 2013
Photo of dates on a date palm in Las Vegas, Nevada. Credit: Stan Shebs/Wikipedia.

Scientists from Saudi Arabia and China said on Sunday they have completed mapping the genome of the date-palm tree, whose fruit is a staple food in many regions.

Scientists from Riyadh's King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology and China's Shenzhen-based BGI have been working on the project since 2008.

The sequencing could help increase productivity as well as prevent and help in the treatment of diseases affecting date palms, Saudi research institute head Mohammed al-Suwail told reporters.

The palm is widely cultivated in the Middle East and North Africa.

Saudi Arabia has 450 varieties of the 2,000 species known worldwide, according to scientists.

There are about 100 million date palms in the world, of which 10 percent are in Saudi Arabia, which contributes 14 percent of the world production of dates.

In 2010, 20 scientists from both centres decoded the entire genetic makeup of the single-humped camel, camelus dromedarius, the omnipresent native of the Arabian peninsula.

Unlocking the genetics underpinning the camel's immune system could lead to potential medical discoveries, and the can also help scientists understand better how the mammal produces its highly nutritious and medically valuable milk.

Explore further: Qatar reports three camel MERS infections

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Saudi announces new MERS death

Nov 20, 2013

Saudi health authorities on Wednesday announced a new MERS death, raising to 54 the number of people killed by the coronavirus in the country with the most fatalities.

Saudi announces 55th MERS death

Nov 24, 2013

The Saudi health ministry on Sunday announced a new MERS death, raising to 55 the number of people killed by the coronavirus in the country with the most fatalities.

Qatar reports three camel MERS infections

Nov 28, 2013

Qatar said on Thursday that three camels have been found infected with the MERS coronavirus, in the first case of animals contracting the SARS-like virus in the Gulf state.

Saudi death toll from new virus reaches 18

May 27, 2013

(AP)—Saudi Arabia's Health Ministry says a woman has died from a new respiratory virus related to SARS, bringing the total number of deaths in the kingdom to 18.

Recommended for you

Cataloguing 10 million human gut microbial genes

19 hours ago

Over the past several years, research on bacteria in the digestive tract (gut microbiome) has confirmed the major role they play in our health. An international consortium, in which INRA participates, has developed the most ...

Model evaluates where bioenergy crops grow best

Nov 24, 2014

Farmers interested in bioenergy crops now have a resource to help them determine which kind of bioenergy crop would grow best in their regions and what kind of harvest to expect.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

sigfpe
5 / 5 (1) Dec 08, 2013
No, they didn't decode it. They extracted the message. Now the decoding starts.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.