Inside us are six billion letters that make up our DNA, defining who we are. Information about genetic characteristics holds significant value for individuals, enabling healthy lifestyle choices tailored to each person, disease prevention, and mitigation of possible effects. The ability to sequence the entire genome grants us access to precise, personal data, crucial for leading a healthy life.
Large-scale projects worldwide utilize data from DNA sequencing to examine how genetic characteristics influence chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes, as well as inherited disorders leading to physical malformations, developmental delays, and metabolic diseases.
Based on existing resources in biomedicine, bioinformatics, and IT infrastructure, Serbia is ready to embark on a new era in identifying, treating, and understanding the causes of high-risk and hereditary diseases. In this context, C4IR Serbia plans the DNA screening project, the first voluntary preventive and diagnostic genetic screening designed for young adults aged 18 to 40.
This initiative involves close cooperation between academia, science, and business. The goal is to implement a pilot DNA screening program, enabling research into the regularity of specific genetic variants in the Serbian population and improving the reference set of variant characteristics of the population. The project results will serve as a basis for defining regulations and guidelines to introduce DNA screening into the publicly funded health system.
The DNA screening project program aims to achieve the following:
- Development of methods for early detection and prevention of high-risk hereditary diseases.
- Improving treatment and reducing the mortality rate from diseases with a hereditary factor.
- Establishing new standards in diagnosis and treatment.
- Creating a pharmacogenomic profile of the population.
- Increasing awareness of the benefits of precision medicine and genetic screening.
The program will involve voluntary screening of 1000 subjects from a healthy population whose genetic material will be sequenced using state-of-the-art technologies. This will contribute to:
- Detecting the frequency of genetic variants related to selected hereditary diseases in the population and developing early detection methods for high-risk hereditary diseases.
- Timely detection of hereditary factors and rare hereditary diseases, improving treatment for early detected diseases, and reducing mortality rates from diseases with a hereditary factor.
- Raising awareness of the benefits of precision medicine and genetic screening.
- Creating a register of 1000 genomes of the population in Serbia, following world trends in data collection.
The program targets young adults aged 18 to 40. Interested individuals will have the opportunity to gain insights into their genetic potential, including genetic mutations relevant to the development of certain hereditary diseases, as well as information from nutrigenetics (the study of the relationship between genes and nutrition) and/or pharmacogenetics (the study of individual responses to specific drugs).