Bipolar Affective Disorders are disorders of mood regulation that affect 1-5% of the population worldwide. The severe mood swings that are the hallmark of this disorder can interfere with the patient's personal life and career and often result in marked distress for the patient and family. While the etiology of the disorder remains somewhat elusive, genetic factors are known to be major contributors. Research in patients of European descent have identified several genes that are strongly associated with bipolar disorder. These genes include CACNA1C, ANK3 and Syne1 genes. However these findings have not always been replicated and it is not known whether these or other genes are also associated with bipolar disorder in populations of other racial/ethnic origin. In an effort to address this issue, we recruited 120 patients with bipolar disorder from different Arab countries. The majority were Qataris. All patients were clinically assessed with the Diagnostic Interview for Genetic Studies (DIGS) that we translated into Arabic and adapted to the local culture. The demographic and clinical characteristics of the patient population will be presented. Compared to patients recruited in other parts of the world, our population sample is unique in at least three different and important ways: 1) there is a high frequency of psychosis among our patients (>60%); 2) co-morbidity with alcohol and/or substance abuse is relatively rare (<20%) and 3) about 30% of patients had a family history of a similar disorder in first degree relatives. DNA extracted from a blood sample was obtained on each patient. The DNA was sent for whole genome sequencing at the Hudson Alpha Institute in Huntsville, Alabama in the USA. The sequencing was completed at a depth of 30X. The genetic variants across the genome through all genes, regulatory regions and intronic genetic sequence were encoded in the data. The total amount of data exceeded 10 Tbytes. We have just started the long and tedious process of data analysis that will be shared. These projects lay the foundation for the establishment here in Doha of a repository of clinical and biological data for patients with bipolar disorders. We hope this work will eventually lead to the establishment of the first Arab Psychogenomic Repository for Bipolar Patients in the Middle East.


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