x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 22 October 2017

UAE Ministry completes first phase of date palm tree identification

The UAE Ministry of Environment and Water has completed the first phase of its date palm tree identification through DNA profiling through a collaboration with UAE University.

The UAE Ministry of Environment and Water has completed the first phase of its date palm tree identification through DNA profiling through a collaboration with the UAE University.

A team from the ministry collected 165 plant samples from mother date palm trees this year. The samples were taken from the ministry’s Al Hamraniya agricultural research station, Debba experiments station and Al Dhaid experiments station.

The initial phase has three major stages, starting with collection of samples, extraction and propagation of DNA, data analysis, determination of genetic series and keying of gene identification number in the international database. Within the first phase, 30 samples were collected from Al Hamraniya station, 20 from Debba station, and five from Al Dhaid station. The samples were then sent to the UAE University in preparation for the project’s second phase which is extraction of DNA.

“It is important to offer all kinds of support to preserve, identify and classify all genetic assets of date palm trees,” said Saif Al-Shara, assistant undersecretary for agricultural and livestock affairs. “It is also important for us to establish a reference database for all the types of palm trees found in the UAE, as well as identify and document the extent of their diversity. DNA profiling is recognized as one of the most accurate techniques to ensure genetic stability of plants. It is also one of the internationally recognized means to determine genetic kinship with all other living organisms.”

The project will also help increase the contribution of palm tree planting and date production to the country’s gross domestic product by improving the quality of the product and promoting its economical value, Mr Al-Shara said.

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