Centre For Arab Genomic Studies - History


The Arab World is notorious for the increased incidence of genetic disorders among the population. A large part of this is attributed to the widespread norm of consanguinity in the region. Other factors include a social trend to have more children until menopause, selective factors favoring inherited disease characters like thalassemia and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, and the lack of public awareness towards the early recognition and prevention of inherited disease. CAGS was born out of the vision of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance and Industry, UAE, to alleviate human suffering from genetic diseases in the Arab World. The Centre was inaugurated on 25 June 2003 by H.E. Hamad Abdul Rahman Al Midfaa, the then Minister of Health, and Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences, at the Genetic Centre of Al Wasl Hospital. At present, offices of the Centre for Arab Genomic Studies are located within the premises of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences, Dubai, UAE.

Some of the priority objectives of CAGS are to educate the public and professionals alike on the important impact of genetic diseases in the Arab World and the methods and benefits of early genetic diagnosis. CAGS also plans to provide comprehensive genetic services by translating research achievements into well-integrated patient treatment programs. Concurrently, it will also address the ethical, legal, and social issues that may arise with the implementation of such programs. A small number of local scientists from the UAE constitute the Executive Board of CAGS, which helps in taking policy decisions for the Centre. In late 2005, the Arab Council of CAGS was formed, which comprises leading geneticists from different Arab countries. At present, the Council has representations from Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Tunisia. The Council was formed with an aim to facilitate the exchange of information on genetic disorders occurring in Arab countries and to be a medium for multidisciplinary collaborative research aiming at the identification and prevention of genetic disorders in the region.

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