- Issues related to biotechnology.
Genome sequencing to map population diversity
What to study?
- For prelims: What is genome sequencing and how is it done? Human genome sequencing project and features, about CCMB.
- For Mains: Significance, need and challenges to the project.
Context: In an indigenous genetic mapping effort, nearly 1,000 rural youth from the length and breadth of India will have their genomes sequenced by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The project aims at educating a generation of students on the “usefulness” of genomics.
Details of the project:
- The project is an adjunct to a much larger government-led programme, still in the works, to sequence at least 10,000 Indian genomes.
- Typically, those recruited as part of genome-sample collections are representative of the country’s population diversity. In this case, the bulk of them will be college students, both men and women, and pursuing degrees in the life sciences or biology.
- The project aims to reach out to a lot of collegians, educating them about genomics and putting a system in place that allows them to access information revealed by their genome.
- Genomes will be sequenced based on a blood sample and the scientists plan to hold at least 30 camps covering most States.
- Every person whose genomes are sequenced will be given a report. The participants would be told if they carry gene variants that make them less responsive to certain classes of medicines. For instance, having a certain gene makes some people less responsive to clopidogrel, a key drug that prevents strokes and heart attack.
- The project would involve the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) and cost ₹18 crore, with the sequencing to be done at the IGIB and the CCMB.
Need for genome sequencing:
Ever since the human genome was first sequenced in 2003, it opened a fresh perspective on the link between disease and the unique genetic make-up of each individual. Nearly 10,000 diseases — including cystic fibrosis, thalassemia — are known to be the result of a single gene malfunctioning. While genes may render some insensitive to certain drugs, genome sequencing has shown that cancer too can be understood from the viewpoint of genetics, rather than being seen as a disease of certain organs.
Significance of the project:
Globally, many countries have undertaken genome sequencing of a sample of their citizens to determine unique genetic traits, susceptibility (and resilience) to disease. This is the first time that such a large sample of Indians will be recruited for a detailed study.
What are the uses of genome sequencing?
A genome is an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes.
Genomics is an interdisciplinary field of science focusing on the structure, function, evolution, mapping, and editing of genomes. Genomics also involves the sequencing and analysis of genomes through uses of high throughput DNA sequencing.
Advances in genomics have triggered a revolution in discovery-based research and systems biology to facilitate understanding of even the most complex biological systems such as the brain.
About Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology:
The Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB) is a premier research organization which conducts high quality basic research and trainings in frontier areas of modern biology, and promote centralized national facilities for new and modern techniques in the interdisciplinary areas of biology.
- It was set up initially as a semi-autonomous Centre on April 1, 1977 with the Biochemistry Division of the then Regional Research Laboratory (presently, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, IICT) Hyderabad.
- It is located in Hyderabad and operates under the aegis of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
- It is designated as “Center of Excellence” by the Global Molecular and Cell Biology Network, UNESCO.
Sources: the hindu.