The initiative was implemented by the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Delhi and CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad.
Significance, outcomes and benefits of the project:
The outcomes of the IndiGen will have applications in a number of areas including predictive and preventive medicine with faster and efficient diagnosis of rare genetic diseases.
The data will be important for building the knowhow, baseline data and indigenous capacity in the emerging area of Precision Medicine.
About Genomics for Public Health in India (IndiGen) programme:
IndiGen programme aims to undertake whole genome sequencing of thousands of individuals representing diverse ethnic groups from India.
The objective is to enable genetic epidemiology and develop public health technologies applications using population genome data.
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.
Genome India project:
- It is funded by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) to sequence at least 10,000 Indian genomes.
- 22 partner organisations including public health institutions will be roped in that have obtained regulatory ethical clearances.
- Investigators in hospitals will lead the data collection through a simple blood test from participants and the information will be added to bio banks.
- The project will aim to make predictive diagnostic markers available for some priority diseases such as cancer and other rare and genetic disorders.
- The department has also initiated an outreach programme to provide genetic diagnosis and counselling to families affected by common genetic disorders in certain districts.
What is Gene Sequencing?
- A genome is the DNA or sequence of genes in a cell.
- Most of the DNA is in the nucleus and intricately coiled into a structure called the chromosome.
- Every human cell contains a pair of chromosomes, each of which has three billion base pairs or one of four molecules that pair in precise ways
- The order of base pairs and varying lengths of these sequences constitute the “genes”.
- Sequencing a genome means deciphering the exact order of base pairs in an individual.
- It has been known that the portion of the genes responsible for making proteins called the exome occupies about 1% of the actual gene.
- The genome has to be mapped in its entirety to know which genes of a person’s DNA are “mutated”.