UAE researchers sequence genome of 2,000-year-old extinct date palm tree
Now Reading
UAE researchers sequence genome of 2,000-year-old extinct date palm tree

UAE researchers sequence genome of 2,000-year-old extinct date palm tree

The research on the Judean date palms was undertaken by a team at the New York University Abu Dhabi in partnership with entities in Israel and France

team The research team at the New York University Abu Dhabi

Researchers from New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) have successfully sequenced the genome of a 2,000-year-old, previously extinct, date palm tree at the Abu Dhabi’s Centre for Genomics and Systems Biology.

This discovery was made by Michael D. Purugganan, Professor of Biology at NYUAD, and his colleagues, in partnership with researchers in Israel and France.

The researchers used previously recovered seeds from archaeological sites in the Southern Levant region, which carbon date back to the 4th century BCE and 2nd century CE.

By germinating the seeds, the researchers were able to conduct the sequencing of the samples and use this genome data to examine the genetics of the date palms known as Judean date palms.

The researchers were subsequently able to discover how these plants evolved over time. They found that these date palms originating in the Eastern Mediterranean had roots in other gene species known as ‘Phoenix Theophrastus’, which originates from Crete and other Greek Islands and Turkey. This is a result of hybridization between species and shows increasing Roman influence in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“By reviving biological material such as germinating ancient seeds from archeological, paleontological sites, or historical collections, we can not only study the genomes of lost populations but also, in some instances, rediscover genes that may have gone extinct in modern varieties,” says Professor Purugganan.

Purugganan notes, “We are fortunate that date palm seeds can live a long time – in this case, more than 2,000 years – and germinate with minimal DNA damage, in the dry environment of the region. This resurrection genomics’ approach is a remarkably effective way to study the genetics and evolution and possibly extinct species like Judean date palms.”

You might also like

© 2021 MOTIVATE MEDIA GROUP. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Scroll To Top