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President Hu Jintao meets with BIG researchers in Saudi Arabia
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On February 11, 2009, during his state visit in Saudi Arabia, Chinese President Hu Jintao visited the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, where a group of Chinese scientists from Beijing Institute of Genomics, Chinese Academy of Sciences were working on a project studying the genes of dates.

After listening to a progress report of the Saudi-Sino Date Palm Genome Project (DPGP), he was impressed with the progress made by the team members, and emphasized that this is not only a scientific research project but also provides a platform for deepening the friendship of the two countries. "The project is a symbol of cooperation between the two countries in the sector of science and technology," said an official in Hu's delegation.

Date palm is one of the most important food and cultivated plants with significant economic values for the people of Saudi Arabia, Middle East and North Africa. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contributes about 15% to the world's total date palm production. The date palm in the National Emblem of Saudi Arabia symbols vitality and growth.