The Cultural Village Foundation - Katara - has announced the establishment of the Katara Biodiversity Genomes Programme, which is one of the key projects undertaken by Al Qannas Qatari Society for the benefit of falconry heritage locally, regionally, and internationally.
Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti, General Manager of Katara and the Head of the Katara Biodiversity Genomes Programme, said: " Katara Biodiversity Genomes Programme is the first of its kind in the region. It aims to establish a specialised centre for genomic biodiversity studies, building on the mechanisms and results established by the Qatar Falcon Genome Project. It will also create a network of collaboration with prestigious research institutions within and outside the country. Additionally, it will utilise genomics sciences to preserve living species in Qatar, especially those with cultural significance, such as falcons and others."
He stressed that the programme was a culmination of Katara's creative and constructive initiatives in various fields, bridging the gap between researchers locally and globally. It enhances Katara's role as a meeting point for world cultures and a hub for cultural exchange in the fields of science and knowledge.
He added that the establishment of this programme would enable Katara to open new paths for serious scientific research, promoting communication among researchers and scientists and disseminating research and studies. It will also work on developing genetic tests for falcons and other culturally and heritage-important species in Qatar, aiming to be the first and leading programme in the region to provide such services. This programme will analyse genetic maps to preserve biodiversity and the environment in Qatar, aligning with sustainability goals consistent with Katara's vision and mission.
The project also aims to conserve the environment, blend science and heritage, and encourage scientific research in the field of falconry, attracting young scientific talents. Such achievements have attracted significant international entities to cooperate in this programme.
Dr al-Sulaiti extended thanks to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Sheikh Ali bin Abdullah bin Thani al-Thani, owner of the Umm Haish Reserve, the falconers, the research department at Sidra Medicine, and Souq Waqif Falcon Hospital, besides all partners who played a clear role in bringing this project to light.
Through this programme, Katara aims to be the first in the region in the field of reference genetic testing for environmentally and culturally significant species. Further, it seeks to attract and train young scientific talents in Qatar as part of the human development goals of Qatar Vision 2030. It also provides research and consultancy services based on genomics and its applications for specialised projects in Qatar, such as breeding, releasing some species into nature, herd management, and others.
In addition, the programme aims to focus on community engagement to raise awareness about genomics, prepare a generation equipped for precise scientific disciplines, and activate the role of school students through specialised training courses suitable for different age groups.
Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti