Abdullah bin Zayed participates in Emirati Genome Programme

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has participated in the Emirati Genome Programme, a ground-breaking national genomics initiative and one of the world’s largest, and most comprehensive genomics programmes, as he visited recently the Omics Centre of Excellence, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi-based technology company Group 42 (G42), located in Masdar City.

The visit came following the announced formation of the Emirati Genome Programme Council, under the chairmanship of H.H. Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Executive Council and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office. The council is mandated with regulating, overseeing and guiding the implementation of the Emirati Genome Programme into the healthcare system across the country.

The visit is reflective of the important role the Programme assumes in delivering the future of healthcare and providing improved quality of medical care in the UAE, being one of the six pillars of the UAE National Agenda in line with Vision 2021.

The programme seeks to provide the best healthcare system for all Emiratis, understand the nature of the genetic diseases prevalent among the UAE population, implement personalised medicine and provide accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Accurate genomic studies can help in the prevention of genetic and chronic diseases in the future generations, equip national competencies to re-shape the future of healthcare policies in cooperation with the highest medical research centers, foster the country’s position as a global innovation hub in the health sector, and raise the country’s profile in the Global Competitiveness Index.

The programme will explore the genetic makeup of Emiratis, using cutting-edge DNA sequencing and artificial intelligence technologies to generate the highest quality and most comprehensive genomic data. The resulting reference genome will pave the way towards personalized and preventive healthcare delivery for UAE citizens.

During Sheikh Abdullah’s visit of the Omics Centre of Excellence, representatives of the Group 42 shed light on the latest AI techniques and computing resources provided by advanced sequencing technologies. He was briefed on the future outlook for genomic technologies and the services planned to be introduced as well as the progress achieved by the programme hitherto.

Underlining the significance of the programme, Sheikh Abdullah said, “Advanced sequencing technologies do contribute to achieving a quantum leap that will guide us toward a comprehensive understanding of rare genetic disorders.

“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 wellbeing of all Emirates,” Sheikh Abdullah added.

Emiratis of all ages are encouraged to participate in the Emirati Genome Programme, which aims to better predict and prevent genetic diseases.