Unveiling India Genetic Diversity- The 10,000 Genomes Project

Image depicting Genetic Variation and Mutation in the context of India's 10,000 Genomes Project"
Unveiling India Genetic Diversity- The 10,000 Genomes Project

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) proudly announces the successful culmination of the '10,000 Genomes Project,' a groundbreaking endeavor aimed at sequencing thousands of individual genomes from India. This monumental project marks a significant step towards facilitating precision medicine and genetic epidemiology studies tailored to the unique genetic makeup of the Indian population.

Objectives Behind the Project:

Initiated under the National Biotechnology Development Strategy 2015-20, the project addresses the imperative need for a comprehensive genomic database reflecting India's rich population diversity. Dr. Rajesh S. Gokhale, Secretary of DBT, underscores the scarcity of studies elucidating the core genetic composition of Indians. By mapping thousands of genomes from diverse ethnic groups and tribal populations, researchers now possess invaluable reference data on population-specific genetic variants, crucial for advancing precision medicine and targeted healthcare solutions.

Key Highlights:

The '10,000 Genomes Project' was conceived in 2020 and commenced genome sequencing in 2021, adhering to DBT's meticulous timeline. A total of 10,010 genomes were sequenced, representing 1014 Indian sub-populations and tribes across all 28 states and 9 union territories. Implementing a hub-and-spoke model, three anchor institutes spearheaded the project: CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), New Delhi; IISER Regional Centre for Genomic Technologies (RCGT) in Bhopal; and the Institute of Life Sciences (ILS) in Bhubaneshwar. These institutes collaborated with various stakeholders to collect ethnically relevant biospecimens, ensuring standardized protocols for sample quality and analysis.

Significance of Achievement:

The '10,000 Genomes Project' establishes India as a frontrunner in possessing an ethnically relevant genome database on a population scale. Dr. Gokhale emphasizes the wide-ranging applications of whole genome data, spanning genetic disease understanding, formulation of preventive healthcare policies, and driving research in genomics, precision medicine, and agriculture. By identifying India's unique genetic variants associated with prevalent diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, or heart disorders, researchers can pioneer targeted drugs, diagnostics, and treatment protocols tailored to specific Indian sub-groups, revolutionizing the healthcare landscape.

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