What is genome sequencing and why does the Genome India Project matter?

What is genome sequencing and why does the Genome India Project matter?

The Genome India Project is an initiative backed by the Indian government’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT) to sequence 10,000 Indian human genomes and create a database. As of the recent statement from the DBT, two-thirds of the project has been completed, with 7,000 Indian genomes sequenced, and 3,000 of them are available for public access by researchers.

The project’s goal is to create a database of genomic information unique to the Indian population, which could be used by researchers worldwide to study genetic variants found in India.

The project is similar to initiatives launched by other countries, including the United Kingdom, China, and the United States. Genome sequencing is the process of decoding the order of base pairs in the DNA to identify differences or mutations unique to each individual’s genetic fingerprint, which could provide insights into an individual’s susceptibility or future vulnerability to diseases, sensitivity to specific stimuli, and more.

Genome sequencing has been used to evaluate rare disorders, preconditions for disorders, prenatal screening, and in public health to read the codes of viruses, among other applications.

At the population level, the large datasets of genomic profiles created by such initiatives could enable researchers to develop a better understanding of causative factors and potential treatments of diseases.