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Genome sequencing to map population diversity

posted Jul 26, 2019, 2:13 AM by Vinod Scaria   [ updated Jul 26, 2019, 2:14 AM ]
Jacob Koshy | The Hindu NEW DELHI, APRIL 19, 2019 00:11 IST
https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/genome-sequencing-to-map-population-diversity/article26880217.ece


CSIR effort set to probe gene-disease link

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.

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.

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.


“This will not be an exercise to merely collect samples from people,” said Vinod Scaria, a scientist at the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), a CSIR laboratory.

“We will be reaching 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,” he said. Because genomics is largely confined to a rich urban demographic in India, this exercise, according to Dr. Scaria, would make such information ubiquitous even to villages. “Just as CT scans are now known across the country, we hope to do the same for genomes,” he said.