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Genomics has facilitated the identification of a large number of genetic variants that are causal and/or risk factors for both rare and common human diseases. Low and middle income countries (LMIC) represent a large proportion of the human population, with distinct health priorities from the developed world. There have been some initiatives in LMIC focused on medical genomics research. We review successful examples of existing genomics centres in LMIC and suggest some recommendations to develop the research infrastructure that is needed in LMIC. There is an urgent need to improve local infrastructures of many LMIC to carry out medical genomics research.
The World Bank’s list of countries having reduced income includes 139 countries, which have been classified in six groups (East Asia and Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa). In addition, as the total population living in LMIC will increase even more in the following decades, basic health research in these populations is of high global importance.1 ,2
Due to the high costs of the needed research infrastructure (eg, high technology equipment that cost millions of dollars and scientific personnel with advanced training and experience in those areas), a large number of the human genomic centres around the globe are located in developed countries.1 Indeed, most of the 400 000 human whole-exome sequencing assays expected to be accomplished in 2015 will be performed in developed countries.
To date, there have been some initiatives in LMIC focused on human and medical genomics research (table 1). In Mexico, the National Institute of Genomic Medicine was created in 2004,3 dedicated to research on diseases with emphasis on the characterisation of population structure of complex traits in admixed populations (type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, cancer).3 India, one …
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Contributors All authors participated in the writing of the manuscript, in the revision and discussion of its content and in the final approval to be submitted.
Funding DAF is supported by research grants from Colciencias and VCTI-UAN; PL is supported by research grants from Universidad del Rosario; WW is supported by the China National ‘12th Five-Year’ Plan for Science and Technology Support, China 2012BAI37B03; Edith Cowan University-SRF 2015–2016; Australian NH&MRC Grant #APP1112767 and the Importation and Development of High-Calibre Talents Project of Beijing Municipal Institutions, China.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.