Hyderabad: Union Minister for Science and Technology Dr. Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) facility at the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) here on Saturday.
The state-of-art facility includes cutting edge technology for genome sequencing that will help in identifying the DNA sequence of people suffering from rare genetic diseases.
The new facility will help genome sequencing understand the genes responsible for some of the rare genetic diseases still prevalent in the society, Dr Harsh Vardhan said. The facility set up with a budget of Rs 8 crore was the latest in the world, said Vardhan.
For a country like India with its heavy genetic disease burden, pre-natal genetic screening and counselling are essential in preventing genetic disorders. The genetic cause of many diseases among Indians was poorly understood. The new facility will help in generating large scale genomic data from Indian population which is critical for genetic diagnosis and therapy, a CCMB release said.
Using NGS, the CCMB can now sequence up to 30 human genomes or 384 diagnostics samples in a day. These sequencing which earlier took about seven to 10 days can now be completed in a single day.
With the facility, the CCMB will embark on single cell genomics and transcriptomics using powerful barcoding capacities which would help researchers individually tag genomes of up to 80,000 cells in eight minutes. This opened up multiple avenues in investigating biology of individual cells in tissues as well as fighting diseases like cancer by understanding the heterogeneity in respective cell population.
Panel to work on rare and genetic diseases
A high powered committee to work on rare and genetic diseases and tackle the issues related to them has been constituted by the union government, said the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan.
Speaking to press at CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) here on Saturday, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that as huge costs are involved in treating some of the rare genetic diseases, many companies are not manufacturing those drugs and procuring them from foreign countries to entailed huge expense.
The National Medical Commission bill would be introduced in Lok Sabha on Monday and the Commission would replace the Medical Council of India, he said. The MCI is already superseded and replaced by Board of Governors.
Earlier, addressing the scientists, Dr. Harsh Vardhan told scientists that their work should not be confined to research papers or journals but should go back to the people.
“Earlier, there were not many facilities available for the scientists. But today all the research laboratories are well equipped with latest machines,” he said, adding that scientists should contribute to society as part of the scientific social responsibility.