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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Qatar launches ‘dream’ genome project to identify falcon breeds

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Al Gannas Qatari Society announced a state-of-the-art genetic examination to identify falcon breeds as a part of a new project.

The Qatar Falcon Genome Project of the Al Gannas Qatari Society has introduced a “highly accurate genetic examination, the first of its kind, to identify falcon breeds and detect the crossbreeding ratios of captive-bred falcons.”

The project is considered “a significant scientific success and shows the extent of the development in Qatar at all levels,” according to general manager of Katara Khaled bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti.

Director of the Qatar Falcon Genome Project and a specialist in genomics, Farouk al-Ejli said that the examination uses the latest technologies in genetics and has allowed access to high-quality genetic information of several species of the bird.

The genetic examination accurately reveals the proportions of crossbreeding in falcons, particularly those that have been bred in captivity in breeding farms around the world.

He also said that the aim is to enable falcon conservation projects in Qatar and abroad to detect crossbred populations and exclude them from the breeding process. This is to ensure the reproduction of pure breed falcons only, especially endangered breeds, as they prepare to release them back into their natural habitat based on their genetic fingerprints, without risking any disturbance of the wild gene pool.

Read also: ‘Qatar Falcons’ released into the wild as campaign takes flight

“The Qatar Falcon Genome Project has been a dream for many years, in order to preserve falcons and wildlife and ensure the ecological balance through scientifically studied methods,” said chairman of Al Gannas Qatari Society board of directors Ali bin Khatem al-Mehshadi.

This new scientific discovery would reaffirm Qatar’s role and its efforts in preserving the heritage of falconry, which is considered a global human heritage registered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

In 2008, the Al Gannas Society opened as a cultural association for hunters and falconers, providing facilities and equipment, encouraging research, and hosting international and regional events.

Falcons are incredibly revered in Qatari society, with the sport of falconry being a well respected tradition in the Gulf.


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