Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, is taking part in the Emirati Genome Programme.
A cheek swab and blood sample were taken during a visit to Omics Centre of Excellence, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi technology company Group 42.
“Advanced sequencing technologies do contribute to achieving a quantum leap that will guide us toward a comprehensive understanding of rare genetic disorders,” Sheikh Abdullah said.
“In order to lead the national efforts made in this regard, our wise leadership has recently initiated the formation of the Emirati Genome Programme Council, in line with their forward-thinking vision to strengthen early detection and treatment of diseases and ensure the health and well-being of all Emiratis.”
The initiative aims to provide preventive and personalised healthcare for the Emirati population.
Launched last year, it has collected blood samples and DNA cheek swabs from tens of thousands of citizens.
Genome sequencing can help in the diagnosis of conditions caused by changes in the DNA.
Researchers said the goal is to collect samples from the entire Emirati population – about one million people – voluntarily.
During Sheikh Abdullah’s visit to Omics Centre of Excellence, in Masdar City, he was briefed on the outlook for genomic technology, the services planned and the programme’s progress.
Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed, chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office, will be chairman of the newly formed board of the Emirati Genome Programme.
Citizens of all ages are encouraged to take part.