“Today for tomorrow” is the slogan for the year 2023 launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the State, may God protect him. In my capacity as a professor of genetics and genomics, I was asked: How is sustainability in this specialty?
Sustainability in genomics is through scientific research, and some respond by saying that scientific research in this field costs a lot of money, effort and time, and that there are priorities that must be focused on. This is what many, even scientists, said about the human genome analysis project, which took nearly thirteen years (1990-2003) to analyze the human genome, and cost $3 billion, with the participation of scientists from many international universities, from the United States, Britain, France, and Germany. China, and Japan. The reason for the success of the project was that the scientists shared the information, so was the project worth it?
Today, with the development of technologies in this field, it is possible to analyze the human genome in two days, at a cost of approximately one thousand dollars, and not only that, but there is a technique that can analyze the human genome within hours. The technique of analyzing the human genome has helped in many areas. With the development of this technology, it became possible to quickly diagnose cases within days, while in the past, the diagnosis journey involved many years of suffering for the patient, his family, and the medical staff. Studies have also shown that the accuracy rate of diagnosis by traditional methods is 11 percent, while it exceeds 50 percent by examining the genome.
Not only that, but genome analysis helped to discover many new genes, and to treat patients at the beginning of the disease to avoid severe complications or even death. With the development of AI applications, there are great opportunities to improve medical diagnosis, predict pathogens, or improve preventive methods.
Although we have completed the genome analysis on March 31, 2022, we only know 2 percent of the functions of the genome, and in that is an awareness of God’s saying: (And you have been given knowledge only a little).
So we are at the beginning of the road, and we have a lot of scientific research ahead of us to explore the depths of the human genome, which represents the future of human medicine, which is accurate diagnostic medicine, in which the patient is treated according to his genetic makeup to improve the quality of life accurately. With the rapid development of genetic technologies and therapies, we should prepare the next generation of physicians and provide them with genomics, especially since it is involved in various specialties, and this is not surprising, since human creation is written in its genetic code.
I now invite all of you to questions: Have you participated in the scientific research of the genome? Did you donate even a few dirhams in this field? Have you participated in volunteering for scientific research? Did you participate in the Emirates Genome Project? Did you support scientific research? What is the financial budget allocated for scientific research, especially in universities? Is there scientific cooperation between researchers in this field in state universities? Is there sharing of data and information among researchers in this field? Have we provided the fertile environment for scientific research and to attract clinical research to our country?
In the end, I invite you all to work to achieve our leader’s future vision of sustainability, and to create an environment to attract minds and scientific research in the country to improve the quality of life for future generations.