The 6th Pan Arab Human Genetics Conference discusses the genetic profile of Type 1 Diabetes in Arabs
Dr. Mahmoud Talib Al Ali, the Director of the Centre for Arab Genomic Studies (CAGS) and the President of the 6th Pan Arab Human Genetics Conference, announced that the conference, which will be held in Dubai from 21 till 23 January 2016, will present the details of associations between HLA-DQA1, DQB1 and DRB1 alleles with Type I Diabetes in Arabs, at a scientific session entitled Genetics of Diabetes. “These genes –named Human Leukocytes Antigens (HLA) - play a pivotal role in human autoimmune diseases generally”, he said.
“These results have been issued in a recent study conducted by the CAGS, a division of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences, and are expected to be a reference point for health institutions in the Arab world, in order to achieve early detection for Type I diabetes, and to take the necessary measures to deal appropriately with this disease”, he said.
“The study bridges the knowledge gap caused by the lack of collective information about Arabs on the global genetic map for Type1 Diabetes. And, it is a true reflection of a significant development that has been taking place at CAGS for two years now; such development is in line with CAGS’ strategy. As well as updating its database “Catalogue for Transmission Genetics in Arabs” on a regular basis, CAGS works on analyzing raw data extracted from individual studies”, Dr. Mahmoud Talib added.
In this context, Dr. Abdul Rezzak Hamzeh, the Senior Scientific Coordinator in CAGS and first author of the study, said: It is based on meta-analysis, in which published raw data about a certain topic are subjected to certain scientific analysis in order to reach collective results.
“Despite the importance of this type of studies; mainly due to high statistical power and scientific rigor, they are practically non-existent when it comes to genetic studies on Arabs”, he said.
“The primary objective of this study was to identify the genotypes (alleles) associated with Type 1 Diabetes among Arabs, especially these that increase or decrease the risk of developing the disorder. Being an autoimmune disease triggered researchers to focus on genes that play a role in the workings of the immune system. Most notably, HLA genes were very strong candidates from the beginning, and these genes are extremely polymorphic; with considerable variability among individuals from different geographical locations.” Dr. Abdul Rezzak Hamzeh added.
“The study collected data from all published research about the genetics of Diabetes in Arabs. The final number of source studies reached 16 and, these came from 10 Arab countries namely; Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Sudan”, he said.
“The results of the study have been published in two papers in the "Tissue Antigens" journal; one of the most important journals worldwide in the field of immune response genetics. The first paper involved 1273 Arab patients with Type 1 Diabetes and 1747 controls, and the second one had 1032 cases and 1410 controls”. Dr. Abdul Rezzak Hamzeh added.
Dr. Hamzeh expressed his optimism regarding the effect of this study in opening the doors to future research on the relationship between these three genes and the incidence of several autoimmune diseases among Arabs, such as multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and Crohn's disease which affects the intestines.