The Centre for Arab Genomic Studies (CAGS) conducted the fifth webinar in its monthly webinar series. The webinar focused on Genetic Counseling and was attended by more than 300 participants from all over the world.
In her talk on ‘A new Era of Genetic Counseling in UAE’, Dr. Mona Saleh, Assistant Professor at UAE University, highlighted the importance of genetic counseling and introduced the functions of a genetic counselor. Her lecture showed that genetic counseling is an expanding and in demand profession worldwide as health services keep pace with emerging genetic technologies and related patient/client needs. She also introduced the 2-year full time Master of Genetic Counseling course being developed by the UAE University to fulfil the demand for trained and certified genetic counselors in the region.
The advent of and easy access to next generation sequencing techniques such whole exome sequencing, has led to newer challenges for genetic counseling. Dr.Tamam Khalaf and Dr. Rawan Awwad, both practicing genetic counselors and founding members of the newly formed Arab Association of Genetic Counselors presented case studies to demonstrate the complications inherent in interpreting variants of uncertain significance.
The webinar was moderated by Dr. Alan Taylor, Genetic Counselor at Al Jalila Children's Specialty Hospital, UAE.
Dr.Mahmoud Taleb Al Ali, Director of CAGS said, “The continuing success of the CAGS webinar series is very gratifying to note. With these monthly webinars, it is our endeavor to initiate discussions in diverse fields of human genetics and to keep these conversations ongoing”.
The first webinar in this series focused on the genomics of infectious diseases, and was followed by webinars on the topics of population genetics, gene therapy, and big data in genomics. The webinars have been very well received with more than 400 participants from around the world joining each of them.
The series activities are scheduled to conclude this October with a webinar discussing metabolic disorders. Inherited disorders of metabolism (IEM) occur mainly due to deficiencies in the enzyme that are necessary to convert one metabolite to another metabolite. The manifestations of these disorders are either due to the accumulation of large amounts of one metabolite or a deficiency of one or more metabolites. The webinar will provide an overview of IEMs and take a more in-depth look at neonatal screening programmers designed for the early detection and treatment of these disorders.