Biotechnology Department will scan 20,000 Indian genomes

  1. 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.
  2. The scanning will take place over the next five years, in a two-phase exercise. The programme is expected to be launched in October 2019
  3. 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.
  4. 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 risk.
  5. 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’.
  6. Genome sequencing means determining the order of the four chemical building blocks – called “bases” – that make up the DNA molecule.
  7. 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 diseases.