The city of Dubai wants to get to know its three million residents well—you might even say better than they know themselves. As part of a project called Dubai 10X Initiative, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) plans to gather the DNA of each of its inhabitants with the stated goal of ending disease in its population. By creating a giant database of genetic disorders in Dubai’s population, the city hopes that researchers can develop customized treatments.
The project has three phases: First, a database will be created to build the necessary infrastructure for large-scale whole-genome sequencing. Next, artificial intelligence will accomplish the complex sequence analysis. According to the DHA, it will analyze longitudinal data to predict risks associated with genetic illnesses. The third phase will develop precision medicine in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies and academia to design treatments. The hope is that such a plan will ultimately eradicate genetic diseases, or at least predict them, so that doctors can work with patients to develop treatment and prevention plans. The ultimate goal, says the DHA, is to create a “happy and healthy society.”