Egypt's Genome project to drive major innovations



Sun, 09 Jun 2024 - 09:22 GMT


Sun, 09 Jun 2024 - 09:22 GMT

President Sisi meets with cabinet ministers on Monday on October 4, 2021- press photo

President Sisi meets with cabinet ministers on Monday on October 4, 2021- press photo

CAIRO – June 9 2024: The Information and Decision Support Center of the Cabinet of Ministers has released a new analysis exploring the concept of genomics, the idea of establishing the Human Genome Project, the importance of human genome projects, the timeline of efforts in this framework, the value of genomics in healthcare and its most important medical applications, the status and development of the Egyptian Genome Project, and its expected horizons.


What is Genomics?


In a dynamically evolving world characterized by population growth, the spread of infectious and genetic diseases, and scientific advancements, the need to identify individuals predisposed to certain diseases or those with exceptional potential in specific fields has become essential. Human genome projects, which compile all genetic information of an organism, have made this possible, benefiting various sectors.


Egypt's Role in Genomics


Egypt has not remained isolated from this scientific advancement. The country has initiated steps to align with global genomics efforts and leverage them to improve the Egyptian population.


On April 29, 2024, the Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sports received the first batch of genetic screening results for the Egyptian Olympic athletes participating in the Paris 2024 Olympics. This project aims to enhance athlete performance based on their genetic profiles, propelling them towards professional excellence.


Understanding the Genome


Scientists define the genome as the complete set of genetic material of an organism, which includes all encoded information about the organism's structure, functions, and growth mechanisms.


The term "genome" was coined by Hans Winkler, a botany professor at the University of Hamburg, Germany, in 1920 by merging "gene" and "chromosome." Advances in technology have expanded the definition of "genome" to encompass all nuclear material, all genes, and a more complex and central concept, leading to the emergence of the growing field of "omics."


Genomics, a sub-discipline of genetics, focuses on studying the entire genetic information (genome) of an organism, gene functions, and their interactions with each other and the environment.


Understanding genomic information allows for comparisons between organisms at the genetic level, identifying similarities, differences, and functional importance. This genomic understanding is crucial for disease treatment, as decoding the genetic information of any organism reveals its genetic map, detailing the function of each gene.


The Human Genome Project (HGP)


Driven by the desire to understand the human genome, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences formed a special committee in 1988 to develop the project in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH). An international team was assembled to decode the complete genetic content of the human genome, aiming to create a blueprint responsible for most human biological behaviors in health and disease.


The HGP is a form of precision medicine that links treatment and diagnosis to an individual's genetic makeup, forecasting long-term health outcomes in preventive medicine. By April 2003, researchers completed the first human genome sequence, discovering that most human traits result from a combination of genetic and environmental influences.


Some genes are inherited from both parents, while others are inherited solely from one parent. Scientists estimated that the human genome contains between 20,000 to 25,000 genes.


Timeline of Human Genome Projects

1984: The idea of the HGP emerged during the "Alta Summit," highlighting the growing role of DNA technologies.

2003: The HGP was completed, with ongoing efforts post-2003 leading to several key milestones.

2005: Published a map of common human genetic variations, facilitating links between specific genes and diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

2010: Launched the UK10K project to analyze the DNA of 1 in 6,000 people in the UK, identifying rare genetic variants important for human genetic conditions.

2012: Published the Human Genome Guidebook, revealing that about 80% of our genome, previously considered "junk DNA," is actually functional.

2018: Initiated the 100,000 Genomes Project to understand the role of genes in health and disease by sequencing genomes from patients and their families with rare diseases and common cancers.


The Egyptian Genome Project aims to bring similar revolutionary changes, leveraging genomic data to improve healthcare, enhance human potential, and position Egypt at the forefront of global scientific advancements.



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