Modern humans could have Arab genes: Study

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Modern humans could have Arab genes: Study

Modern humans could be descendants of Arabs from this region, according to Dubai-based scientists who say that their research on the modern scientific theory has proved


Asma Ali Zain

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Published: Wed 23 Mar 2011, 12:10 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 10:24 AM

that the first largest human inhabitation outside Africa occurred in the Arabian Peninsula.

Genetists at the Dubai-based Centre for Arab Genomic Studies (CAGS) have said that the extraordinarily large collection of gene variations occurring in the Arab population prove that the largest number of humans inhabited this region after having migrated from Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago. The research, they say, has been proved clinically and could alter previously written scientific theories.

“The information has always been there, but this is the first time that a clear link has been seen after we synthesised information and concluded results from already published data,” said Dr Ghazi Omar Tadmouri, Assistant Director for CAGS. The centre will publish further details on this project in its upcoming publication.

“I can safely say that the modern humans could possibly possess Arab genes,” he added. “It was from this region, nearly 150,000 years ago, that modern humans migrated to the East towards India and to the North towards Eastern Europe,” he said.

“The Americas are the latest lands to be occupied so there are the least number of gene variations in the Western population,” he added.

The centre has recently analysed hundreds of genetic disorders and their mutations in its Arab Variome Project that records Arab genes and their possible variations.

The project was discussed among hundreds of scientists at the recently concluded Human Genome Meeting and the Pan Arab Human Genetics Conference.

Dr Ghazi, however, warned that Arab scientists would have to work quickly since ethnicities are diluting. “In probably another 10 years, population or ethnicity mixtures would make gene variation mapping difficult,” he said. The centre’s variome project, initiated in 2004, has already found over 6,000 Beta Thalassemia mutations in 17 Arab countries with 10 common mutations. “Libya has not yet been tested though we are using the spectrum from its neighbouring countries,” he said.

Dr Ghazi also said that the project was long term and faced a number of challenges.

“There is a scarcity of regional data. Unless research is published, we cannot collate it,” he explained. The variome project has already linked data from the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait. Of the 955 genetic disorders among the Arab population, 230 have not yet been genotyped and could have variations.

“Arab populations are diverse and heterogeneous and most interestingly, characteristics of families in this region are traceable,” said Dr Ghazi. “So it is easy to restart research from here,” he added.

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