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The Silicon Review Asia

How Gene Data Can Put India on the Map

How Gene Data Can Put India on the Map

India plans on focusing on two national-level programs to build genomic data of the population and crops to help the country in developing personalized drugs, fight disease, and increase crop yields. It is an attempt by India to build genomic data of South Asians who are much underrepresented in the databases in the existing world.

Vijay Chandru, the CEO of Strand Life Sciences said that initiatives around genetic data mapping by the government took shape in 2018 when K Vijay Raghavan, the principal scientific advisor to the prime minister had requested from pre-proposals from researchers in India.

Chandru was a part of the team that drafted the first pre-proposal and presented it to the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council. The proposals could have possibly evolved into a national scheme and this possibly might be an early announcement for funding to support the scheme.

“There is a resolve from the government’s side to create large population databases of genomic data. This can have an impact on healthcare, drug discovery and agriculture,” said Chandru. Indian ethnicity is under-represented in genomic datasets currently, according to experts, and the diverse population of the country interests genome-mining researchers across the globe.

“Clinically we see very different mutations and variants in South Asian population, for which the interpretation for treatment would be (more) nuanced for South Asians,” added Chandru.




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