Date palm genome project IDs sex-linked markers
Researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q) have completed sequencing the genome of the date palm, a dioecious species, and identified molecular markers linked to gender. The discovery will facilitate the early identification of male and female trees. The ability to differentiate between different varieties or male and female plants at an early stage would have significant commercial benefits. Female seedlings do not bear fruit until they are between five and eight years old. Such a long generation time also complicates agricultural breeding programmes and basic date palm research.