Dubai Genome labs to start collecting DNA samples

The labs will establish the first national genetic database for future research

A digital representation of the human genome at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Each colour represents one the four chemical components of DNA. Mario Tama / Getty
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Genome laboratories are being set up by Dubai Health Authority to forecast the future of human health and upgrade the skills of local medical professionals.

The labs are part of the Genome project, announced earlier this month at the World Government Summit, that seeks to perfect gene scanning to detect changes in genes, chromosomes and proteins that can lead to genetic diseases.

By scanning genes, researchers may learn how to prevent and eradicate chronic diseases and cancer, and reduce the financial burden for treating chronic diseases, in addition to slowing down the aging process.

“Forming genome laboratories in Dubai signals a new phase, where our forecasts for the future of the health and medical services sector begin to materialize,” said Humaid Al Qatami, DHA’s director general.

“The labs will establish the first national genetic database for future research, lending support to decision-makers as they set plans and strategies for the future of the healthcare sector. This, in turn, ensures Dubai’s global competitiveness and strengthens the knowledge economy.”

The labs will be executed by the Department of Pathology and Genetics and the Dubai Cord Blood and Research Center, among other affiliate organisations.

“The Authority is looking to target all residents of the emirate of Dubai with this groundbreaking project, focusing on UAE nationals in the first phase of implementation,” said Mr Al Qatami.

“The project’s timetable extends over 24 months, during which we will be collecting samples, analysing DNA sequences, and recording the results in the data bank. The following phase involves automated learning and artificial intelligence to issue reports that support research, forecast future disorders and epidemics, and plan preventive measures.”

The project is part of the Dubai 10X Initiative overseen by the Dubai Future Foundation, which seeks to place the emirate’s Government entities 10 years ahead of the world in all sectors.


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