DNA find set to boost date yield

DATE palm trees have X and Y chromosomes that make them male or female - just like humans - according to research.

The phenomenon could improve production of the staple food which is vital for survival in dry areas of the world like the Middle East and North Africa.

Scientists say the trees have DNA similar to XY chromosomes in humans that decide gender.

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About 100 million date palm trees throughout the world produce 15 million metric tons of fruit annually. Currently growers need to wait five years before the plants reach maturity to discover whether a plant is a fruit-bearing female or a barren male.