Predictive genomics is a significant field that can assist in anticipating illness risk and assess treatment responses.
Qatar Genome Program (QGP), a member of Qatar Foundation (QF), and Thermo Fisher Scientific have joined forces with the goal to accelerate genomic research and clinical applications of predictive genomics in Qatar.
This comes as a first stride towards promoting the benefits of precision medicine to Arab communities around the world.
The Middle East is a historical crossroad for human civilisation and migration. Due to a lack of whole-genome data from the region, large-scale assessments of its diversity and illness risk in Arab populations have been limited.
Previous research involving hundreds of people shed light on these groups’ history and the impact of high consanguinity and tribalism on the frequency of genetic diseases.
Thermo Fisher partnership
Thermo Fisher and the Qatar Genome Program will collaborate to construct an Axiom bespoke genotyping array for pan-Arab populations, based on whole genome sequencing data from 19 Arab countries.
The array, which has over 800,000 variants, intends to aid scientific research and understanding of diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, autism, inherited genetic disorders as well as cancer.
The arrangement will be offered through Thermo Fisher’s global commercial channels in late 2022, and is designed to be a less expensive alternative to whole genome sequencing for Arab communities, allowing for greater diversity in large genome-wide research.
In 2018, Thermo Fisher collaborated with the Qatar Genome Program to develop the first microarray tailored for Qataris. The Q-Chip detects genetic changes that put people at risk for both common and unusual diseases.
Under the terms of the new partnership, the organisations will continue to enhance algorithms and establish clinically actionable material to assess polygenic risk scores, a measure of disease risk, and clinically relevant variants, including those related to pharmacogenomics.
With its history and geographical position, the Qatari population represents a significant component of the Arab Peninsula.
Although the Human Genome Project has steadily improved sequence fidelity, the genome’s overwhelming complexity makes it difficult to identify related or ultimately causal variations.
A high number of implicated genetic loci, in particular, are expected to have tiny marginal effects.
Predictive genomics has a range of short and long term objectives. The discovery of related variations is the foundation for all subsequent efforts aimed at improving data-cum-knowledge results.