Hunger in the news
12 February 2009
Chinese and Saudi scientists are working together to unravel the genetic code of the date palm, which Arabs call the "king of the oasis". By mapping out its genetic structure, the scientists hope to determine its genome organizations and all its genetic characteristics, Yu Jun, professor and associate director of the Beijing Institute for Genomics (BIG), under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said Wednesday. [...] After the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932, the date palm was incorporated in its national emblem, as representative of "vitality and growth". Saudi's groves feature more than 20 million trees and more than 320 varieties of the fruit, and yield 15 percent of the world's date palms. The country also donates a large amount of dates to hunger-stricken countries through the United Nation's World Food Program.