Dates form an important product of Qatari agriculture and further constitute an icon of the identity and heritage of the Arab world. Along many Arab countries, Qatar is engaging active research into studying the biology of dates with the view of improving the quality of the fruit both for commercial reasons as well as impact on the human health. As part of a major initiative of date biology research project at WCMC-Q, we aim to deploy metabolomics techniques to discover the molecular basis for the phenotypic diversity in date subtypes. In addition to natural variation, we also explore the effect of environment on date metabolome. To this end, we collected 63 samples that are both phenotypically and geographically diverse; including countries such as Qatar, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Egypt, Israel, Pakistan, Djibouti, Iraq, United Arab Emirates and Oman. Metabolomics data for these samples were obtained from two independent platforms. Combining data from both sources has the advantage of reducing noise while highlighting important common signals. Global analysis of identified metabolites was used to obtain a metabolic composition chart for the date fruit. Comparative analysis of metabolic profiles between subtypes exposed associations with phenotypic traits such as height, width and color with a marked environmental effect.


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