Department Of Health unveils world's most comprehensive Genome Program

Transforming health and well-being with genomics and Artificial Intelligence, the nation's leading strengths

Department Of Health unveils world's most comprehensive Genome Program

Beirut: The Department of Health - Abu Dhabi announced today the launch of the Genome Program, a national project set to use large-scale genomic data to improve health and well-being.

This ground-breaking program aims to be the first of its kind worldwide to provide citizens with their own high quality genome as a baseline and incorporate genomic data into healthcare management. This will be achieved by using advanced sequencing technology to generate the highest quality, most comprehensive genome data. One of the world’s top supercomputers, Group 42’s Artemis, located in Abu Dhabi, will be used to analyse the massive amount of data and generate new insights.

The understanding of genetic variation in the Arab population is a challenge due to the lack of a high-quality Emirati reference genome. This program will enrich the current data by producing a reference genome specific to UAE citizens and drive large scale scientific discovery. The objective of the Genome Program is to advance health management and position Abu Dhabi as an omics-driven research and innovation hub.

Commenting on the initiative, H.E. Sheikh Abdulla Bin Mohamed Al Hamed, Chairman of Department of Health - Abu Dhabi, said: “Embracing innovation and providing a comprehensive healthcare program in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi remains at the forefront of our priorities. Two of the world’s most exciting technologies – DNA sequencing and Artificial Intelligence (AI) – will come together in this project. The Genome Program will enhance our knowledge of citizen’s genomes and establish a strong foundation of health and well-being.”

The successful outcome of the program will equip physicians and other healthcare practitioners with high quality information and knowledge, which will enable them to provide advanced diagnosis and treatment options as well as deliver personalized and preventive programs tailored to an individual’s unique genetic makeup.

This ambitious program will be led by the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi (DoH) and executed and delivered by Abu Dhabi-based technology leader Group 42, in collaboration with global genome sequencing leaders BGI and Oxford Nanopore Technologies. Furthermore, Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) will apply the results of the Genome Program to ensure the delivery of world-class healthcare services.

Peng Xiao, CEO of Group 42, Gordon Sanghera, CEO of Oxford Nanopore Technologies, and Jian Wang, co-founder and chairman of BGI, expressed their commitment and cooperation to ensure the success of the Genome Program, which is expected to attract worldwide interest and propel a wave of innovation, education and business in Abu Dhabi in areas of bioinformatics, healthcare, personalized medicine, research and development.

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About Department of Health (DOH) 

The Department of Health – (DOH) is the regulatory body of the Healthcare Sector at the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and ensures excellence in Healthcare for the community by monitoring the health status of the population. DOH defines the strategy for the health system, monitors and analyses the health status of the population and performance of the system. In addition, DOH shapes the regulatory framework for the health system, inspects against regulations, enforce standards, and encourages adoption of world – class best practices and performance targets by all healthcare service providers in the Emirate. DOH also drives programs to increase awareness and adoption of healthy living standards among the residents of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in addition to regulating scope of services, premiums and reimbursement rates of the health system in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. For more information visit  

About Group 42 

Group 42 (G42) is a leading Artificial Intelligence and Cloud Computing company based in Abu Dhabi, uniquely positioned in the national ecosystem to develop and deploy holistic and scalable AI solutions.

G42 is founded on three core components: 1) fundamental and applied AI Research through its subsidiary the Inception Institute of Artificial Intelligence, 2) a leading Cloud Computing Platform capable of powering the largest and most demanding customers in the region 3) high-impact AI solutions optimized for a wide range of industries.

G42’s strategic direction is aligned with the vision and priorities of the UAE leadership, covering such sectors as: Smart City, Healthcare, Financial Services, Oil and Gas, Utilities, Education, Aviation, Hospitality and Tourism.

G42 has an active and extensive partnership network, connecting leading international organizations that complement our ecosystem and support our vision.

For further information on G42 visit 

About Oxford Nanopore 

Oxford Nanopore Technologies is behind the world’s only fully scalable sequencing technology. It offers direct, electronic, real-time sequencing of DNA/RNA fragments of any length, from short to ultra-long.  The Company’s goal is to enable the analysis of any living thing, by anyone, anywhere.

Oxford Nanopore’s newest device -the PromethION 48 - can deliver more than 7Tb of sequence data in a single run of its 48-flow cell device, making it the only device that can deliver long reads at a population scale. It supports all aspects of genetic discovery, including genome assembly, the analysis of larger genetic variants and direct methylation analysis – all of which are critical to understanding the breadth and depth of genetic diversity. 

Oxford Nanopore also makes small, portable sequencing device - MinION /Flongle, which use the same core technology. Nanopore sequencing has the potential to unlock DNA analysis of all living things in decentralised environments such as clinics, farms and classrooms. 

About BGI 

BGI is the world’s leading genomics solutions group, with the mission to empower the world to benefit from genomics.

Founded in 1999, BGI has continually focused on transformative genomics research and applications. From a small group of scientists participating in the Human Genome Project to becoming consistently ranked among the top scientific institutions globally, BGI continues to pioneer its omics-driven approach to solving the world’s biggest challenges in human health & wellness and in life sciences. Beyond its research leadership, BGI also develops and manufactures breakthrough enabling technologies for omics – both tools and infrastructure – to overcome technological limits. BGI’s services and solutions are available in more than 100 countries and regions around the world. With a fully integrated omics platform from science to tools to solutions, BGI partners with governments and institutions in unwavering pursuit of the common goal: Omics for All. 

For media inquiries:
Mariam Al Marzooqi, Media Specialist, The Department of Health – Abu Dhabi
Tel: +971 2 4193 315, email:  

© Press Release 2019

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