Sidra Medicine, a member of Qatar Foundation (QF), has opened the fourth annual Functional Genomics Symposium with an update on data collected from the 12,000 genomes sequenced as part of the Qatar Genome Programme (QGP).
Following the analysis of 6,000 of these genomes, Sidra Medicine announced that it identified over 30 million new variants, giving a much deeper understanding of the Qatari and Arab genome. New insights into risk factors and protective variants will support the development of neonatal and premarital screening procedures, and ultimately the discovery of cures for diseases including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Over 400 attendees joined Sidra Medicine for the first day of the symposium, which is hosting over 100 local and international experts in functional genomics and big data, and introducing the Women in Science Workshop. It also represents a further step along Qatar’s path to establishing the strategy of Qatar Precision Medicine, announced at the grand opening of Sidra Medicine hospital on November 12, 2018, by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation.
The Qatar Precision Medicine Strategy will support the discovery of the causes of disease in Qatar, facilitate the development of research at many levels, and promote the delivery of new ways of treatment and care for patients affected by these disorders. It also has broad applicability to Arab populations around the world.
“Sidra Medicine’s partnership with Qatar Biobank and the QGP [also a QF member], along with other entities such as Hamad Medical Corporation, Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar, and Qatar National Research Fund, has been instrumental in establishing foundations for personalized medicine in Qatar and the set-up of the ambitious strategy of Qatar Precision Medicine,” explained Sidra Medicine Chief Research Officer Professor Christof Von Kalle, speaking on the sidelines of the Symposium.
”The challenge now will be to materialize many of the efforts that Qatar has made in biomedicine into this national initiative.”
Professor. Xavier Estivill, Chair of Sidra Medicine’s Genetics and Genomics program said: “Typically, genome mapping projects have largely focused on European, Asian and African populations – the unique features of the region and Arab populations therefore have been underrepresented or altogether absent in the available human genome data.
“The same level of understanding and data now can be developed with respect to Arab populations.”
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