The Qatar Genome Programme was launched by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser at the World Innovation Summit on Health (WISH) in 2013, marking the beginning of a new era for Qatar’s healthcare industry.

Today, a new milestone was marked with the launch of the pilot phase of the programme, an initiative which draws on the collective efforts of the research community in Qatar to provide an integrated collaborative work environment.

The Qatar Genome Programme utilises the DNA samples collected by Qatar Biobank over the past few years to perform whole genome sequencing in partnership with the Sidra Medical and Research Center. This pilot stage of the programme capitalises on the skills of Qatar’s youth - a move aimed at transferring knowledge to the next generation of Qatari researchers.

Events hosted thus far have provided a platform for the exchange of expertise propelling the Qatar Genome Programme forward. Symposiums have brought together hundreds of researchers and scientists to explore and address the ethical, social and legal aspects of the programme.

Through its partnership with the Qatar National Research Fund, the Qatar Genome Programme has encouraged scientific research and provided support for local scientists through the formation of research teams from various academic institutions from across Qatar. Those teams have been responsible for evaluating the results of the pilot phase and publishing their findings in some of the most prestigious international scientific journals.

The Qatar Genome Programme has also partnered with the Ministry of Health to develop public policies governing research and teamed up with local universities to establish higher education programmes in the field of genomics.

Through our work on the Qatar Genome Programme, we aim to support the pillars of Qatar National Vision 2030 by taking the country’s healthcare industry to the next level to ensure a long and healthy life for our community and future generations. Genetic diseases continue to present major health challenges across the Arab world, putting a great deal of responsibility on our shoulders. Our communities hope that genomic medicine will make a significant contribution to the advancement of personalised healthcare in Qatar by improving diagnosis and treatment with ease of access at a reasonable cost.

Qatar Genome Programme, incubated by Qatar Biobank, supports Qatar Foundation in its mission to bolster innovation through medical research on prevailing health problems in the country.

Through the collection of samples and information pertaining to the lifestyle of a large pool of volunteers, Qatar Biobank will enable researchers and scientists in Qatar and the Arab region to conduct necessary medical research.

The time has come to move from the research to the implementation stage and I’m confident that our efforts will greatly impact our future generations and contribute to a healthier society.

Prof. Asma Al Thani
Chair of the National Genome Committee