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Native Genome Project

 

Environmental protection via the conservation of biological diversity is a central theme of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s (KSA) Vision 2030. Biologically characterizing ecosystems that are relevant to the mission of MEWA’s National Center for the Development of Vegetation Cover & Combating Desertification (NCVC) would provide essential data as to how and why a particular ecosystem operates in a particular environment. This information can then, in turn, be used to engineer large-scale ecosystems that are sustainable, will positively influence vegetation cover, and will fight against desertification across the KSA. In partnership with the NCVC, the CDA will study a set of 15 terrestrial ecosystems, centered around 5 plant species, each falling into three categories – i.e. Threatened Species, Rangeland Species, and Common Species. The pilot project will establish a robust pipeline/infrastructure to characterize 100s-1000s of different ecosystems across the Kingdom, both terrestrial and aquatic, as part of a broader initiative entitled the KSA Native Genome Project (KSA-NGP) under development. Furthermore, it will produce a new cohort of Saudi scientists trained in the study of ecosystem biology and its application to environmental protection and conservation.