As economic doors open between the United States and Cuba, human genetics offers one promising area for scientific collaboration (see Nature 537, 600–603; 2016). Reversing 50 years of restriction remains a formidable task — particularly with scant financial and human resources.
Community genetics is incorporated into Cuba's health-care system. As in the United States, prenatal genetic testing, screening of newborns and clinical genetics services are all available. Comparative studies on US and Cuban populations could help to clarify the genetic contribution to disease — for example, by revealing rare inherited genomic variants.
Miami is one of the best-positioned US cities to lead such scientific partnerships, given its social and cultural ties with Cuba (Florida is home to 66% of the US Cuban population). At the University of Miami's Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, we are working to develop exchange programmes with medical institutions in Cuba. These mutual learning opportunities should foster multidisciplinary research partnerships in the next generation of medical geneticists.