The Egyptian Collaborative Cardiac Genomics (ECCO-GEN) Project: defining a healthy volunteer cohort.
Aguib Y., Allouba M., Afify A., Halawa S., El-Khatib M., Sous M., Galal A., Abdelrahman E., Shehata N., El Sawy A., Elmaghawry M., Anwer S., Kamel O., El Mozy W., Khedr H., Kharabish A., Thabet N., Theotokis PI., Buchan R., Govind R., Whiffin N., Walsh R., Aguib H., Elguindy A., O'Regan DP., Cook SA., Barton PJ., Ware JS., Yacoub M.
The integration of comprehensive genomic and phenotypic data from diverse ethnic populations offers unprecedented opportunities toward advancements in precision medicine and novel diagnostic technologies. Current reference genomic databases are not representative of the global human population, making variant interpretation challenging, especially in underrepresented populations, such as the North African population. To address this, the Egyptian Collaborative Cardiac Genomics (ECCO-GEN) Project launched a study comprising 1000 individuals free of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Here, we present the first 391 Egyptian healthy volunteers recruited to establish a pilot phenotyped control cohort. All individuals underwent detailed clinical investigation, including cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and were sequenced using a targeted panel of 174 genes with reported roles in inherited cardiac conditions. We identified 1262 variants in 27 cardiomyopathy genes of which 15.1% were not captured in current global and regional genetic reference databases (here: gnomAD and Great Middle Eastern Variome). The ECCO-GEN project aims at defining the genetic landscape of an understudied population and providing individual-level genetic and phenotypic data to support future studies in CVD and population genetics.