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Sweeter Dates

Together, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar and the Qatar Ministry of Environment's Biotechnology Center are launching a program focused on date palm research, reports Nature Middle East's House of Wisdom blog. The Date Palm Research Program is to include both basic and applied research into the date palm, whose fruit is a dietary staple in the Middle East. The Qatar National Research Fund will provide $4.5 million over five years as seed funding for the program, the House of Wisdom blog says, adding that researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar developed a draft genome of the date palm a few years ago.

"What we aim at now is to translate our basic research know-how into real-world applications," says Karsten Suhre from Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar.