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Arab Genomic Studies
CAGS and Latifa Hospital: Research project to detect genetic causes of inherited disorders in Arabs
05 Feb 2017
United Arab Emirates, Dubai: 5 February 2017 - The Centre for Arab Genomic Studies (CAGS), affiliated to Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences, announced the remarkable success of its scientific project to identify the mutations leading to genetic disorders in Arabs. This project is conducted by CAGS in cooperation with Latifa Hospital, affiliated to the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). 
 
Dr. Mahmoud Taleb Al Ali, the Director of CAGS, spoke about this ambitious scientific project, started in March 2015, which could not have been achieved without the solid support from the Patron of the Award H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance.
 
“As the president of the DHA and the Patron of the Award, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid has been giving unconditional support to enhance the position of UAE as a source for the reliable state - of - the - art genetic research”, he said. 
 
“Through this important research project, 13 papers have been published in a number of indexed international scientific journals in the US National Library of Medicine website and the National Institutes of Health "PubMed".  Also, the results of these papers have been posted in the CAGS’ Catalogue for Transmission Genetics in Arabs (CTGA), whose entries have exceeded 2,200 till date”, he added.
 
On the other hand, Dr. Fatima Bastaki, Consultant Pediatrician and Clinical Geneticist, Latifa Hospital, said that she is so proud of this fruitful and constructive cooperation between the DHA, represented by Latifa Hospital, and the Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences, represented by the CAGS.
 
“On our top priority in the first stage of this important scientific project is the inherited disorders which may affect basic biological functions in children, and lead to problems in their nervous system or development”, Dr. Fatma Bastaki said.
 
“Through studying the medical reports of Arab patients with genetic disorders at Latifa hospital, and based on the results of the genetic analysis of their blood, a number of mutations and their relationships to various genetic disorders are detected”, she added.
 
Dr. Bastaki praised the accuracy of these papers which has qualified them to be published in a number of leading international medical journals.
 
In the same context, Dr. Abdul Rezzek Hamzeh, Senior scientific coordinator, CAGS, spoke about the papers recently published within this project. “They addressed certain genetic conditions in four Emirati patients from three different families namely; Joubert Syndrome, arthrogryposis, Aarskog-Scott syndrome”, he said. These studies reported three previously unreported mutations in Emiratis.   
 
“Through next-generation DNA sequencing technology, it was possible to characterize molecularly four novel mutations causing congenital ichthyoses that were published in a “case series” article in the International Journal of Dermatology. 
 
“The symptoms of this disease begin at birth and is accompanied with severe dryness in skin, cracks, and peeling. Although, it may lead to death in severe cases, most affected children need special care to overcome frequent skin infections”, he added.
 
Dr. Abdul Rezzak Hemzeh mentioned that the work is underway in full swing to conduct more studies whose results would support the Emirati Genome project and the completion of the Human Genome Project.