December 8, 2009

INDIA: First ever Human Genome Sequencing Completed in India

. NEW DELHI, India / Press Information Bureau - Govt of India / December 8, 2009 The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has achieved completion of first ever Human Genome Sequencing in India. Scientists of CSIR at the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Delhi have sequenced the Human Genome of an anonymous healthy Indian citizen. Addressing a press conference held here today Union Minister Prithviraj Chavan said that this feat is unique in the sense that it has been achieved by a team of very young scientists. CSIR has been endeavoring to nucleate such teams in different niche technological areas. This initiative is paying off. Mr. Prithviraj Chavan, Minister of State for Science & Technology and Earth, with the young Scientists who worked the project ‘Human Genome Sequencing’, in New Delhi on December 8, 2009. The DG, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Dr. Samir K. Brahmachari and the Additional Director General (M&C), PIB, Mr. B.S. Chauhan are also seen. The first Human Genome Sequence in the world was a result of the International Human Genome Project by scientists from United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan and China. The Project formally started in 1990 and the sequencing was completed in 2003. This spectacular feat at that time was hailed equivalent to the man landing on the moon. India could not be a part of this large initiative as in the early nineties it lacked the necessary resources. With the completion of the first Human genome sequence in India, the nation is now in the league of select few countries like United States, China, Canada, United Kingdom, and Korea who have demonstrated the capability to sequence and assemble complete human genomes. CSIR could achieve this by adopting new technologies and by effectively integrating complex computational tools with high throughput analytical capabilities. While the first Human Genome Sequence effort took more than a decade spending over a billion US dollars, CSIR scientists at IGIB finished the complete sequencing and assembly in much shorter time comparable with similar recent effort the world over. By using next generation technologies and skills, they successfully bridged the technological gap that existed a decade ago. Dr. S.K. Brahmchari, DG, CSIR stated that the Human Genome has 3.1 billion base pairs. The team at IGIB generated over 51 Gigabases of data using next generation sequencing technology, resulting in over 13x coverage of the Human Genome. This next-generation sequencing technology enables massively parallel sequencing of millions of genomic fragments of 76 base pairs, which are then mapped back to the reference genome. This humongous exercise was made possible with the CSIR supercomputing facility at IGIB. The sequencing of the first Human Genome in India in conjunction with Indian Genome variation programme opens newer vistas for low cost affordable healthcare and predictive medicine in future for the masses. This also opens up newer possibilities in disease diagnostics, treatment and sustaining low-cost drugs in the market. [rc]