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Tribune News Network
The Qatar Falcon Genome Project of the Qatari Al Gannas Society has announced the development of a highly accurate genetic examination, the first of its kind, to identify falcon breeds and detect cross-breeding ratios of captive-bred falcons.
Dr Khaled bin Ibrahim Al Sulaiti, general manager of the Cultural Village Foundation (Katara), affirmed that the accomplishment is a significant scientific success, which shows the extent of the development in Qatar at all levels.
He explained that Katara always promotes such achievements related to reviving Qatari heritage and enhancing Qatari identity. He also emphasised that the scientific discovery would consolidate the role of Qatar and its global pioneering position in preserving the heritage of falconry, which is registered in the UNESCO, and practising the hobby of falconry on scientific grounds. It will also help researchers to provide care for falcons and treat them according to the highest standards, he said.
Ali bin Khatem Al Mehshadi, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Qatari Al Gannas Society, commented: “The Qatar Falcon Genome Project has been a dream for many years in order to preserve falcons and wildlife and ensure the ecological balance by scientifically studied methods. Eventually, due to the relentless efforts by the project and agreements concluded by Al Gannas Society with local and international entities including Qatar University, represented by the Biomedical Research Center, to cooperate in the research and scientific projects specialised in falcons, we witness today this impressive result.”
Farouk Al Ejli, director of the Qatar Falcon Genome Project and a specialist in genomics, stated that the examination was based on the latest advances in genetics using state-of-the-art scientific technologies, which has allowed access to high-quality genetic information of several species of falcons in international bio-information repositories, followed by a large-scale survey of falcon populations.
Al Ejli explained that the genetic examination accurately uncovers the proportions of crossbreeding in falcons in captivity in breeding farms across the world.
“The aim of developing the examination is to enable falcon conservation projects in Qatar and abroad to detect the crossbred populations and exclude them from the breeding process to ensure the reproduction of only pure breeds, especially the endangered ones, in preparation for their release to the wild based on their genetic fingerprints, without risking to disturb the wild gene pool. The project also reached many important results especially in the context of efforts to preserve falcons, their health and fitness.”
Muhammad bin Abdul Latif Al Misnad, vice-chairman of Al Gannas Society, said: “We are proud of this scientific attainment of the Qatar Falcon Genome Project, which was launched by the society in January 2016, as is one of the most important recommendations by the Second Qatar International Falcon Veterinary Conference.”
Sheikh Ali bin Abdullah bin Thani Al Thani, owner of the Umm Heesh Reserve for breeding Houbara and falcons, said that the achievement is a major scientific discovery, through which falcons and their genes can be examined, distinguishing their strains, which is a major move for the Qatar and the countries of the world to preserve and enhance falcon populations.
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