Centre for Arab Genomic Studies (CAGS)
In the Arab World, genetic diseases represent a major public health problem. The vision of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum to alleviate human suffering from genetic diseases in the Arab World crystallized in the establishment of the Centre for Arab Genomic Studies (CAGS) to characterize and prevent genetic disorders and transfigure the future practice of health care in the region.
Some of the priority objectives of the Centre for Arab Genomic Studies 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. The Centre for Arab Genomic Studies 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.
CAGS includes two scientific committees: The Executive Board of CAGS is composed of a number of local scientists and it represents the governing body and the legal trustee of all activities of the centre. The Council of CAGS includes a number of regional scientists and it facilitates the exchange of information on genetic disorders occurring in Arab countries. Countries represented in the Council of CAGS currently include: Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates. In the future, CAGS aims to extend memberships to a larger group of scientists and include other Arab countries.
One of the major projects of CAGS is the Catalogue for Transmission Genetics in Arabs (CTGA), an online, freely accessible database of genetic disorders reported from the Arab World. CAGS has been involved in the Human Variome Project as a representative of the Arab region, and has been one of the first organizations to take an active lead in working on the project. CAGS organizes the Pan Arab Human Genetics Conference every alternate year, to provide a platform for discussion and education on genetic issues in the region. The Centre also publishes various books and booklets on genetics aimed at the scientific community and the general public.