Sharjah opens lab to preserve native plant DNA

SHARJAH, The Sharjah Research Academy plans to open an advanced laboratory to preserve native plant DNA and perform intense research about the use of the the genetic material in various fields.

The Sharjah Seed Bank and Herbarium Bank, founded in 2009, succeeded in preserving about 1500 groups of seeds from 430 plant species found in the UAE, said Dr. Amr Abdul Hamid, Director of the Sharjah Research Academy.

This figure accounts for more than 50 per cent of the known plant varieties, with 15 per cent belonging to local plant species of rare seed groups. He stressed that such efforts are especially important during this period of rapid global change, he said.

H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, takes a keen interest in the bank and environmental protection, Dr. Abdul Hamid said.

The Sharjah Seed Bank and Herbarium, he said, was established in co-operation with the British Royal Botanical Gardens. The bank is considered a very important component of Sharjah Research Academy.

The main goal of researchers conducted at the local institution is to gather all local plants located in the United Arab Emirates into one bank, with particular emphasis on rare and endangered plant species, he said.

Conservation of plant species contributes towards supporting relevant global effort in line with the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, Dr. Abdul Hamid said, noting that the Sharjah Seed and Herbarium Bank is involved in activities, such as public awareness of, and educating the public about native species that contribute to strengthening the UAE’s native vegetation heritage and the conservation efforts.

Source: Emirates News Agency