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Saudi-China team maps camel genome

Riyadh, June 9, 2010

A collaborative research team from the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and China’s BGI has for the first time mapped the full genome of Arabian camel.

With this, the Arabian camel has entered a highly exclusive club of selected few mammals which have had their full genome sequenced and analysed, said a statement.

KACST and BGI (formerly known as Beijing Genomics Institute, headquartered at Shenzhen), jointly announced that this is the first mammalian livestock to be sequenced in Saudi Arabia.

“We are proud to announce today that we have fully mapped the genome of the Arabian camel. It is the result of intensive collaborative research of more than 20 researchers over one year,” Dr Abdulaziz Alswailem, project principal investigator, coordinator of Live Sciences & Environment Sector, KACST.

The research revealed that camel genome is approximately 2.2 gigabase (billion nucleotides) in size with remarkable similarities to other reported mammals particularly cattle, and interestingly also possess ~57 per cent shared genes with the human genome, which is comparable to findings in other sequenced mammals.

The Arabian camel genome research project has generated an enormous database of genetic information that will be used to improve camel as well as human health, the statement said.

“The sequencing of the camel genome achieved by KACST and BGI will contribute greatly to the world-wide genomics and post genomics research.  We look forward to further expand our understanding of the camel physiological and biochemical characteristics and to bring it to application for the benefit of mankind.” Jian Wang, president, BGI.

The completion of the Arabian camel genome will lead to a major breakthrough in the understanding of the exceptional physiological and biochemical characteristics that enable this phenomenal animal to survive in such inhospitable environments as the desert.  Further, unlocking the unique aspects of the camel immune system will help to develop new vaccination approaches, novel therapeutic antibodies, and small peptide-based therapy, it said.

“This achievement propels KACST to the forefront of genomics and post-genomics research,” said Dr Mohammed Al-Suwaiyel, the president of KACST. “We are dedicated to continue to contribute with leading edge research and technologies to the global community in the scientific areas that are most relevant to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”  - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Saudi | China | research | Genome | KACST | BGI | camel |

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