Saudi, China scientists decode camel DNA

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 - 21:17

Riyadh: Scientists from Saudi Arabia and
China said on Wednesday that they had completed mapping the genome of the Arabian camel.

It took 20 scientists from Riyadh`s King Abdulaziz
City for Science and Technology and China`s Shenzhen-based BGI
- formerly the Beijing Genomics Institute - more than one year
to decode the entire genetic makeup of the single-humped
camel, Camelus dromedarius, the omnipresent native of the
Arabian Peninsula.

"The Arabian camel today enters a highly exclusive
club of selected few mammals which have had their full genome
sequenced and analysed," the two institutions said in a joint
statement.

Sequencing and analysing the entire camel genome,
which has "remarkable similarities" to cattle, could lead to a
better understanding of the camel`s ability to survive in the
harsh desert environment, they said.

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

"The sequencing of the camel genome achieved by KACST
and BGI will contribute greatly to the world-wide genomics and
post genomics research," said BGI president Jian Wang.

"We look forward to further expand our understanding
of the camel`s physiological and biochemical characteristics
and to bring it to application for the benefit of mankind," he
said.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 - 21:17

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