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Genome India project

Topics Covered: Issues related to biotechnology.

Genome India project

What to study?

For prelims: What is genome sequencing and how is it done? 

For Mains: Significance, need and challenges to the project.

 Context: The government has cleared an ambitious gene-mapping project, called Genome India Project.

Overview of Genome India Project:

The Rs 238-crore Genome India Project will involve 20 leading institutions including the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru and a few IITs.

The first stage of the project will look at samples of “10,000 persons from all over the country” to form a “grid” that will enable the development of a “reference genome”.

The IISc’s Centre for Brain Research, an autonomous institute, will serve as the nodal point of the project.

Significance:

The project is said to be among the most significant of its kind in the world because of its scale and the diversity it would bring to genetic studies.

  • The data generated would be accessible to researchers anywhere for analysis. As the genetic landscape differs across the world, it is necessary that genetic data is shared in order to derive greater knowledge from information and serve the purpose of enabling better treatment outcomes. 
  • The initiative will pave the way for identifying genes and genetic variations for common diseases, treating Mendelian disorders, enabling the transformation of the Precision Medicine landscape in India, and thus improving the healthcare of the general population in our country.

Need for genome sequencing:

Mapping the diversity of India’s genetic pool will lay the bedrock of personalised medicine and put it on the global map. Considering the diversity of population in our country, and the disease burden of complex disorders, including diabetes, mental health, etc., once we have a genetic basis, it may be possible to take action before the onset of a disease.

What is 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.

Sources: the Hindu.