In order to promote scientific research in the United Arab Emirates University,
On Wednesday, October 19, 2016, the Department of Biology organized a lecture entitled "X Chromosome Syndrome and FXTAS", a syndrome which causes mental retardation and autism. A number of notable figures and students attended, including Dr. Khaled Amiri, Head of the Department of Biology, Professor Randi Hagerman, Professor of Pediatrics, and Director of the Institute of Pediatric Studies at the College of Medicine, and Professor Paul J. Hagerman, Professor of Molecular Medicine at the University of California Davis. This latter university is one of the most prestigious universities in biology and medicine in the United States.
Dr. Ahmed Murad, Dean of the College of Science, stressed that UAEU, in its ongoing quest to develop students' skills through applied scientific research, aims to attract scientists and researchers from around the world. This is part of the University’s overall vision, in preparing graduates to contribute positively to the progress of the UAE as a country, through enhancing knowledge in society.
Dr. Khaled Amiri, Head of the Biology Department, explained that the aim of the lecture was to highlight to the UAEU scientific community various genetic diseases. He stressed that the long-term aim of the university was to conduct research with other international scientific institutions, particularly in such areas as the genes responsible for autism.
Professor Hagerman explained that Fragile X Syndrome is caused by a genetic chromosome defect that leads to autism and other cognitive disorders. He reported that the latest research findings on Fragile X Syndrome had examined gene coding for the FMR1 protein. This involved isolating the genes that cause a disorder (permutation) , which result in a full genetic mutation. The mutation can then lead to a nerve disorder for the elderly and children, and the subject suffers from an X chromosome disorder in the absence of the FMR1 protein.
Professor Hagerman pointed out that through a series of scientific research on genes that stretched back 40 years, the research team has discovered the gene that causes fluctuations in the FMR1 protein. Through this research, they have been able to make possible the prospect of a therapeutic intervention for the Fragile X Syndrome, especially for children who have this genetic defect.