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Dubai to have DNA lab by 2011

A fully automated DNA laboratory will be in place here to screen genetic disorders including thalassemia, a blood disorder that affects a large part of the local population, By 2011, a senior official said in Dubai.

world Updated: May 11, 2009 14:05 IST

A fully automated DNA laboratory will be in place here to screen genetic disorders including thalassemia, a blood disorder that affects a large part of the local population, By 2011, a senior official said in Dubai.

The laboratory is being set up at the cost of 11 million Durhams ($2.99 million) by the UAE Genetics Diseases Association (UAEGDA) at the Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park (DuBiotech).

The association will also establish its new research and facilities at The Nucleotide Lab Complex in DuBiotech Park, UAEGDA executive director, Maryam Matar, has said.

"There are several genetic disorders in the UAE but we will focus on those that are the most common and manageable disorder such as thalassemia," she added.

Thalassemia has affected over 70 million people around the globe and 1 in 12 Emiratis suffering from the disorder.

The lab will also focus on pre-testing and awareness.

"Before blood samples are taken, we will require people to participate in an awareness and screening programme so that they do not get shocked if they test positive," Mattar said.

UAEGDA will also offer counselling and referrals, she added. The lab is being set up in collaboration with Professor Yukio Hattori and his team from Yamaguchi University of Japan, which will serve as a reference DNA Laboratory, providing confirmatory tests of ongoing national projects.