(MENAFN - Arab News) King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (KAIMRC) announced in a statement on Sunday the details of the first Saudi human genome study on a section of the local population.
"This project aims to discover the Saudi genome characteristics and features compared to other ethnic groups," said Dr. Bandar Al-Knawy, CEO of the National Guard Health Affairs (NGHA).
He revealed that the Saudi genome project is the first genomic map for Arabs in the Middle East and the Islamic world. The project was executed at the medical genomics research department in KAIMRC, and was operated by a research team consisting of scientists, medical technologists and clinicians. Al-Knawy described the medical genomics research laboratories at KAIMRC as one of the most distinguished genome centers in the Kingdom, containing state-of-the-art technology.
The official explained that the genome mapping gives accurate features for genetics information.
The project revealed that Saudis have more than 1.7 million genetics flag (SNP) not reported before. In addition, the mitochondrial genome showed that Saudis belong to L0a group. This group belongs to the old tribes who lived 150-170,000 years ago. The mitochondrial genome was deposited in the national center for biotechnology information.
The project also compared the genome of healthy individuals to the genome of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. The study showed some of the unique differences that might shed more light on the genetic basis of MS disease.
Al-Knawy expressed his sincere appreciation to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, second deputy premier Prince Muqrin bin Abdul-Aziz and National Guard minster Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, for their continuous support for scientific research and for encouraging scientific developments made in the Kingdom. An official in the Saudi research team supervising the project revealed that the Saudi genome showed some significant differences from other populations, which might help explain differences in disease predispositions and responses to treatment. "The advancements in the biotechnology industry in the field of molecular biology and genetics allows scientists to go deep in understanding our DNA and its major role in health and disease," he said.