The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) has
planned to scan nearly 20,000 Indian genomes to develop diagnostic tests that
can be used to test for cancer.
The scanning will take place over the next five
years, in a two-phase exercise. The programme is expected to be launched in
The first phase of exercise will involve sequencing
the complete genomes of nearly 10,000 Indians from different parts of India and
capture the biological diversity of India.
In the second phase, genome sequencing will be
done of about 10,000 diseased individuals. The data sets would be compared
using machine learning techniques to identify genes that can predict cancer
The data generated would be made accessible to
researchers anywhere for analysis. This would be through a proposed National
Biological Data Centre envisaged in a policy called the ‘Biological Data
Storage, Access and Sharing Policy’.
Genome sequencing means determining the order of
the four chemical building blocks – called “bases” – that make up the DNA
Genome sequencing helps to understand how genes
work together to direct the growth, development and maintenance of an organism.
It helps to determine unique genetic traits, susceptibility and resilience to