ICBA hosts the Workshop on “Plant Genetic Resources in the UAE”
Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, Director General of ICBA, thanked the participants for their dynamic interaction during the workshop on ‘Plant Genetic Resources in the UAE’ in her closing speech on 30 October 2013. Dr. Elouafi stressed the importance of the large diversification in genetic resources of UAE plants. Current over 750 species have been identified that are valued for their nutritional, medicinal, cosmetic, and forage uses. However, due to climate change and desertification, some of these species are gradually vanishing and appropriate measures are required to protect these species from extinction. Dr. Elouafi highlighted the role of ICBA in preserving the various plant genetic resources through the establishment of a gene bank at ICBA. The ICBA gene bank includes over 11,000 accessions and 250 species of salt tolerant plants. ICBA has published a valuable book in 2013 on ‘Salt Tolerant Plants in the UAE’.
The participants in the course from the Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW) found it interesting and useful. Mr. Salem Mohammed Alhanjari from MOEW said, “This workshop was very fruitful and purposeful; I was particularly impressed by the lecture on genetic engineering and the lectures on forest trees and the various ways of preserving them.” Mr. Mohammed Ahmed Almishel, another participant, added, “It was a very beneficial workshop; I enjoyed the practical session on Ghaf vegetative propagation.” The Ministry of Environment and Water in collaboration with ICBA organized the workshop on ‘Plant Genetic Resources in the UAE’, which ran on 28-30 October 2013. Eleven participants attended the training from the MOEW and the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi. The training course focused on the importance of native plant genetic resources and strategies for their conservation and utilization using conventional as well as biotechnological approaches. The instructors included Dr. Nanduri Rao (Plant Genetic Resources Scientist, ICBA), Dr. Khaled Masmoudi (Sr. Molecular Biologist, ICBA), and Dr. Mohammed Shahid (Associate Geneticist, ICBA); other trainers were Dr. Neeru Sood, Ms. S Rajeswari, and Ms. Kiran Menon all from BITS-Pilani.