DNA microarrays
DNA microarrays are used in biological research to simultaneously measure the expression of thousand of genes

The Qatar Genome Program (QGP), a member of Qatar Foundation (QF) announced today that they will partner with Thermo Fisher Scientific to develop a pan-Arab genotyping array, the intent of which is to create a cost-effective alternative to whole-genome sequencing and to provide a greater diversity in genome-wide research studies.

The Axiom custom genotyping array for pan-Arab populations will leverage whole-genome sequencing data from 19 Arab countries. The array will include roughly 800,000 variants, which can be broadly used for a range of medical conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, autism, inherited genetic disorders, and cancer. Thermo Fisher estimates the custom array will be ready via its commercial channels in late 2022.

“Qatar’s national vision is to provide a high standard of living for our people, and that includes providing access to genomics data, technology and insights to improve population health across the country,” said Dr. Radja Badji, genome operations manager at QGP. “Our collaboration with Thermo Fisher will not only help us advance precision medicine in Qatar but also among people of Arab identity worldwide.”

The new array development partnership builds on an existing relationship between Thermo Fisher and the QGP launched in 2018, which sought to develop a first-of-its-kind microarray specifically for the Qatari population. The Q-Chip helps detect risk for both common and rare diseases and the new agreement provides a continuation of this work to continue to refine algorithms and define clinically actionable content to assess polygenic risk scores and clinically relevant variants, including those related to pharmacogenomics.

“Thermo Fisher’s Axiom microarray technology is designed to help accelerate precision medicine, and we are honored to partner with the Qatar Genome Program as they take bold steps to leverage the power of genomics to improve the standard of care for human health,” said Chad Carter, vice president and general manager of microarray genetic solutions at Thermo Fisher Scientific in a press release. “Together, we’re creating building blocks for implementing comprehensive precision medicine initiatives at scale for population health.”

Thermo Fisher has been active in providing its Axiom genotyping array to various population-based genomic research projects, in the same year it announced the development of another Axiom custom array focused on the Finnish population as part of the countries, FinnGen study, a broad-based, country-sponsored research effort that aims to deepen the overall understanding of chronic disease mechanisms in the Finnish population and to enable development of targeted therapies.

“We needed a genotyping pipeline of the highest quality that provided an unrivaled post-lab analytic work flow,” said Aarno Palotie, Ph.D., research director of the Human Genomics Program at HiLIFE in the University of Helsinki/Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) at the time. “In our case, customization was an important component due to the unique needs of the Finnish population, where the population isolate structure has resulted in an enrichment of coding, potentially deleterious variants. Thermo Fisher successfully fulfilled all of our criteria, providing us with a validated, trustworthy industry-level pipeline, which meant that we could just provide our samples and receive high-quality genotypes.”

Thermo Fisher developed FinnGen’s custom Axiom genotyping array through its Microarray Research Services program in Santa Clara, CA.

Also of Interest