The UAE has made a scientific breakthrough in its camel genetics programme through reproductive technologies such as embryo transfer, in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), and cloning.

Several racing camels that were part of this programme achieved a series of milestones, winning races in Dubai and Umm Al Quwain.

According to the Fujairah Research Centre, a trio of camels that was part of the research programme competed in 3 km races at Al Marmoom Dubai Camel Race Track and all of them won their respective competitions with times between 4:24 and 4:38 minutes.

Another camel also finished first in a 2 km race at the same venue. One camel ran in a 3km race at Umm Al Quwain Festival and came second.

Camel racing is a popular sport in the region. Many rich and high-profile local and GCC nationals take part in the traditional event.

How does the genetics work?

Fujairah Research Centre stressed that these achievements are “no coincidence” but were achieved following the strategic approach used for the camel genetics programme.

“Advanced reproductive technologies have paved the way to this announcement. Through embryo transfer, in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), and cloning, we have seen subject racing camels meet a series of milestones that substantiate remarkable progress in recent months alone. While abiding by the very best ethical standards and most stringent scientific regulations, we’ve been working towards breakthroughs that could help shape the future of camel racing. It’s true that we have a way to go yet,” said Dr Nabil Abdel Hamid Mansour, head of camel research at Fujairah Research Centre.

Dr Mansour revealed that utilising carefully selected female racing camels as donors, they fertilise them via elite high-performance bulls or males.

“Subsequently through the process of embryo transfer or IVF, subjects receive these embryos and from there, we take great care of mothers and their newborns, closely overseeing their growth and development while nurturing them as future racing camels through a unique approach that accounts for every possible area,” he said.

Camels are also provided with continuously upgraded nutrition planning, world-class medical treatment and supplements.

Fujairah Research Centre said its scientific team collects data for monitoring and recording training performance, considering speed, agility, and timing to streamline the process of qualifying and disqualifying racing camels. Some camels may not meet performance expectations over a specified period due to various factors such as genetics, muscle mass, body weight, and breed.

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