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Genome Sequencing in India

It has been rightly said that ‘Prevention is better than cure.’  Especially in the context of healthcare. Technological advancement is taking slow but sure steps towards this ideal.
Research laboratories working under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has announced the completion of genome sequencing of 1008 Indian individuals representing diverse ethnic groups in the country. This is the first time that such a large sample of Indians have been recruited for a detailed study. The sample of these recruited youths represented the country’s population diversity. The data obtained from it will act as baseline information for developing various applications in predictive and preventive medicine.
The genomic data is very useful for scientists to understand the genetic diversity of the Indian population. It also makes available, genetic variant frequencies for clinical applications. The data and know-how have the potential to produce evidence and help in the development of technologies for clinical and biomedical applications.
The sequencing was done as part of a project called IndiGen, implemented by Delhi-based Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) and Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB). This accomplishment has enabled benchmark the scalability of genome sequencing and computational analysis at population scale.
It will further lead to cost-effective genetic tests, carrier screening applications for expectant couples, enabling efficient diagnosis of heritable cancers and pharmacogenetic tests to prevent adverse drug reactions are some of the other benefits of this initiative.
Scientists have also developed IndiGenome card and mobile application for researchers and clinicians to access clinically actionable information. This would ensure privacy and data security, which is vital for personal genomics to be implemented at large scale.
The Human Genome Project was an international research effort to determine the sequence of the human genome and identify the genes that it contains. The Project was coordinated by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Energy. It was a 13-year-long, publicly funded project initiated in 1990 with the objective of determining the DNA sequence of the entire euchromatic human genome within 15 years. The overwhelming success of the Human Genome Project acted as an inspiration for IndiGen.