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RAK Hospital gets NGS technology for ancestry testing in the UAE

The solution traces 100 previous generations of an individual via DNA from saliva samples

[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Contrary to the perception of the Middle East as the Arab world, the region is home to dozens of ethnicities, including Kurds, Turks, and South Asian expats. Arabs also have Eurasian ancestry, while Turks are linked to Central Asia. Being a tech and trade hub for the region, the UAE hosts people of 200 nationalities and more ethnicities.

To help people know their history better, Ras Al Khaimah Hospital has launched the Next-Generation Sequencing, or NGS technology, to test ancestry with precision. It goes back up to 100 generations to tell people where their DNA originated from and tracks the migration of their ancestors through saliva samples. It opens a window into the past and pinpoints the exact location of their ancestors, beyond country and continent.

Residents in the UAE can have their saliva samples collected 24X7, but the test results can take up to four weeks to arrive via email. A European woman who took the test was able to make sense of her liking for Arab culture and Mediterranean food after tracing her ancestry with the tech.

Unlike any records available, RAK Hospital’s NGS tech tells people how their ancestors left Africa tens of thousands of years ago. It shows how different generations settled and moved across continents to reach where they are now. It can also shed light on the earliest stages of human history by comparing the DNAs of people across the globe.

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