Guest lecture by Mikko Arvas | Blood and genes in Finland

Medical priority Anemia
Auditorium Sanquin
Plesmanlaan 125
1066 CX Amsterdam
The Netherlands

On Wednesday 14 February 2024 Mikko Arvas PhD (Finnish Red Cross Blood Service) will give a guest lecture at Sanquin Amsterdam

Title: Blood and genes in Finland

Host: Mart Janssen

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Isolation and a strong bottleneck effect have endowed Finns with interesting, rare disease variants. This, in combination with some of the most comprehensive electronic health care records in the world, has made Finland attractive for genetic research. In the FinnGen project half a million Finns, of which ~50 000 were blood donors, were genotyped. The Finnish Red Cross Blood Service has started to explore possibilities of this data. We have studied the genetic background of iron deficiency anemia and found to our surprise that it seems distinct of that of hemoglobin or ferritin. When we compare blood donor genomes to other FinnGen participants we find dozens of variants of which allele frequencies differ between the two populations. These differences stem partly from our preference to invite persons carrying specific blood groups, but they could also hold keys in understanding why some people tolerate blood donation better than others. Our tissue compatibility team has built a Finnish specific HLA and blood group imputation tools for genotyping data. This has allowed us to pick from the genotyped donors individuals for extensive blood group typing and collection of HLA-AB-homozygous platelets. With just 50 HLA-AB homozygous platelet donors we can find compatible donors for over 95 % of Finnish population. Genotype data could also profit our blood donors, and not only the blood service, as it contains information about many disease risks. In our first effort to return genetic data to blood donors, we have identified donors carrying the most prevalent hereditary hemochromatosis causing variant and returned information about the variant for these donors. At least so far, the response from donors has been quite positive.

Short biography
Bioinformatician with a background in genetics. Currently leads the blood donor research team, a small data analysis team, at Finnish Red Cross Blood Service that carries out blood donor health and operational blood supply research. Previous experience on wide range of fungal genome analysis for the needs of the biotechnology industry. Specialties: Blood donor health, health research, candidate / lead gene selection through comparative genome analysis of strains and species and transcriptome and proteome profiling. Genome wide stoichiometric metabolic model reconstruction. Fungal protein secretion system. Fungal genome content, structure and evolution.