Last week, I attended the Advances in Medical Genetics conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I was asked to present on “Big Data in DNA Analytics”. The event was hosted by Prof. Dr. Majid Alfadhel of the King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences in collaboration with the Postgraduate Training Center. The event was held to discuss the pros and cons surrounding the latest advances in genetics, in regards to patient care as well as to provide updated information on technologies and to provide training on the variant interpretation of whole exome and genome sequencing.
On the first day, speakers from all over the Middle East, Europe and North America contributed with a series of keynote lectures surrounding the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of genetic disorders. Some of the topics included the utility and detection rate of whole genome sequencing compared to whole exome sequencing, the management of big genetic data and the recent advances in Saudi Arabia’s newborn screening program. The second day was comprised of a workshop surrounding variant interpretation.
Overall, I was very impressed with the event. It showed the deep understanding of genomics in this region. Not only did the keynote sessions bring to light some of the very important topics in the genetics field today, but the training session on the second day showed the dedication to teaching bioinformatics skills. This is a very important component to the advancement of precision medicine.