As one of the most ambitious medical research endeavors in the region, the Qatar Genome Programme (QGP) is spearheading the implementation of advanced precision medicine and personalised healthcare in Qatar.

The Qatar Genome Programme is designed around a comprehensive strategy that is built on seven fundamental building blocks: the Qatar Biobank; building genomic infrastructure; drafting regulations and policies; forging research partnerships; establishing genomic data networks; building local human capacity; and finally integration of genomic data into the healthcare system. The accomplishment of these building blocks will ensure Qatar a leading position in the field of precision medicine.

The Pilot Phase of the programme was successfully launched in September 2015, with the main goal of revealing the key features of the Qatari Genome Map by sequencing thousands of representative genomes. This will help in identifying the genetic variants distinctive of the local population related to rare as well as common diseases. Other pilot phase goals include promoting genomic research in Qatar through special QNRF grants in addition to encouraging multicentre research teams to work on the data being produced by QGP. QGP is also taking the lead in building local human capacity through its internship programmes, workshops and conferences, as well as taking the initiative in starting new graduate programmes in genomic medicine and genetic counselling in collaboration with local universities.

On the ethical, legal and social fronts, QGP is involved in many related projects including its collaboration with the ministry of public health to draft a national policy that will represent an umbrella to genomic research ethics and regulations in Qatar. Also, QGP is conducting nationwide benchmarking surveys to measure public, professional and decision makers’ views and perceptions on genomic medicine in collaboration with the Social and Economic Survey Research Institute (SESRI) based at Qatar University. The results of these surveys will help us tailor the next stages of the programme around the specific needs of the local community.

We are extremely honored to take part in this ground-breaking genomic research programme which will prove vital to the evolution of the healthcare system in Qatar.

Prof. Said Ismail
Qatar Genome Programme Manager