Major mission to sequence genes of Indians planned
Mains Paper: 3 | Science and Technology
Prelims level: STIAC
Mains level: Mission to sequence genes
- India is planning a major mission to sequence the genes of a “large” group of Indians.
- It’s a kin to projects in the United Kingdom, China, Japan and Australia and use this to improve health as well as buck a global trend of designing ‘personalised medicine.’
- This was among the key decisions taken at the 1st Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (STIAC) in its first meeting on Tuesday.
- The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Department of Biotechnology would be closely associated with the project.
Important highlights of the project
- The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in 2009 announced that it had sequenced the genome of an Indian, then making India one of six countries to achieve such a feat, several research labs have analysed genes from Indians for disease susceptibility.
- However, no compendium of genes that differentiate Indian populations from, say Caucasian or African genomes exist.
- A group of Indian scientists and companies are involved with a 100k Genome Asia project, led out of the National Technological University (NTU), Singapore, to sequence the whole genomes of 100k Asians, including 50,000 Indians.
- Our lifestyle, our environment and the genes we inherit all combine to make us what we are.
- The diversity of Indians and of our environment requires a large-scale study of human genomes, of our lifestyle in health and disease and the use of healthy and disease samples to understand the impact on health.
- Principal Scientific Adviser and Chair of the Council, K. Vijay Raghavan, said the genome initiative will have to move at two different levels.
- Sequencing genomes and linking to human health and disease as a research initiative, and doing this on a much larger scale, so it has a direct impact on public health. As the first level starts, the second will be put in place, speedily.
- The Council acts as a coordinator between several ministries to work on projects and missions and is scheduled to meet once a month.
- Key programmes, such as a Deep Ocean Mission, to facilitate ocean science and technologies to help with India’s strategic interests and an Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing missions were also discussed.
UPSC Prelims Questions:
Q.1) With reference to Biopiracy, consider the following statements:
1. It is unauthorised use of biological reserve by entities outside a country which has pre-existing knowledge of rare biological reserves.
2. It is linked only to drug research and development.
Select the correct answer using code given below.
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1) Why India is planning for sequence of genes mission? What is the relevance to it?