India announced a Genome Project
India recently announced a Genome Project. What does this project entail and what is its significance?
Introduction: (up to 30 words) Explain what a Genome Project is and also mention the World Genome Project.
Body: (up to 100 words) Mention the significance, challenges and knowledge intensiveness of the project.
Conclusion: (up to 30 words) Conclude by pointing out the advantages of the Genome Project
They are scientific endeavours that ultimately aim to determine the complete genome sequence of an organism (be it an animal, a plant, a fungus, a bacterium, an archaean, a protist or a virus) and to annotate protein-coding genes and other important genome-encoded features. The genome sequence of an organism includes the collective DNA sequences of each chromosome in the organism.
For the human species, whose genome includes 22 pairs of autosomes and 2 sex chromosomes, a complete genome sequence will involve 46 separate chromosome sequences.
The Human Genome Project:
The Human Genome Project (HGP) was an international scientific research project with the goal of determining the base pairs that make up human DNA, and of identifying and mapping all of the genes of the human genome from both a physical and a functional standpoint. It remains the world's largest collaborative biological project.
The work of the Human Genome Project has allowed researchers to begin to understand the blueprint for building a person. As researchers learn more about the functions of genes and proteins, this knowledge will have a major impact in the fields of medicine, biotechnology, and the life sciences.
Indian Genome Project:
- The government has cleared an ambitious gene-mapping project that is being described by those involved as the “first scratching of the surface of the vast genetic diversity of India”
- 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.
- 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 IISc’s Centre for Brain Research, an autonomous institute, will serve as the nodal point of the project and its director, will be the coordinator.
- 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”.
Significance of the Project:
- 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.
- For instance, “Nature” and its affiliated journals reported the results of a decade-long global collaboration involving 1,300 scientists to map genetic mutations that drive the development of cancer.
- This is expected to play a significant role in reducing the mortality rate linked to cancer.
The sequencing of the human genome holds benefits for many fields, from molecular medicine to human evolution. The Human Genome Project, through its sequencing of the DNA, can help us understand diseases including: genotyping of specific viruses to direct appropriate treatment; identification of mutations linked to different forms of cancer; the design of medication and more accurate prediction of their effects; advancement in forensic applied sciences; biofuels and other energy applications; agriculture, animal husbandry, bioprocessing; risk assessment; bioarcheology, anthropology and evolution. Another proposed benefit is the commercial development of genomics research related to DNA based products, a multibillion-dollar industry.
The sequence of the DNA is stored in databases available to anyone on the Internet. The U.S. National Center for Biotechnology Information (and sister organizations in Europe and Japan) house the gene sequence in a database known as GenBank, along with sequences of known and hypothetical genes and proteins.