Joint Centers of Excellence Program

Physical and genetic map of date palm genome

Palm trees are one of the most economically important plants for their edible fruits and landscaping with long history. The most domesticated palm species in the world are African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis), coconut (Cocos nucifera) and date palm (Phoenix dactylifera). Especially, date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.), is one of the most agriculturally and economically important crops in the Middle East and North Africa. Saudi Arabia, one of the most important countries for date palm cultivation, has more than 10% of the world's date palm trees including about 340 varieties. In a previous study, we have reported a draft genome assembly for an elite variety of date palm (Khalas) at scaffold level based on raw sequence data from 454 and SOLiD platforms. In the next stage, we will build the physical and genetic map for date palm to construct an excellent and whole genome assembly in chromosome level, study sex-determination mechanism to service the date palm culture, explore the whole genome evolutionary in Palms and plant, and make date palm as a plant model species for studying plant biology like rice and Arabidopsis thaliana.