Daily Answer Writing
09 June 2021

Q) What do you mean by Genome sequencing? How can it be helpful in the health sector? (150 Words)

Source: <https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/bring-genomic-sequencing-into-the-pandemic-fight/article34764517.ece>

 GS 3: Science Tech

Approach Answer:

Introduction: A genome is the entire DNA, or sequence of genes, in a cell. It is divided into chromosomes, which contain genes, which are made of DNA. Each genome has approximately 3.2 billion DNA base pairs.


Genome mapping or Genome sequencing  is deciphering the exact order of base pairs of DNA in an individual cell by figureing out the order of DNA nucleotides, or bases, in a genome, i.e. the order of Adenine, Cytosine, Guanines, and Thymine that make up an organism's DNA. 


There are various methods used for this such as Sanger method (Whole Genome Sequencing), Maxam & Gilbert Method, Chain termination method, Pyrosequencing, clone by clone sequencing.


Importance in Health Sector:

• Predictive and Preventive Healthcare:

  1. Improved Under standing: It will help to understand the type & nature of diseases and traits that comprise the diverse Indian population and will help to develop precision medicine.
  2. Diagnosis: It will help in faster and efficient diagnosis of rare genetic diseases.
  3. Reproductive Planning: such as preconception and Prenatal screening
  4. Newborn Screening: To check any rare diseases which can help in early interventions if the disease is curable.


• Human genome editing: Sichuan University, Chengdu performed world’s first genetic editing trial on humans, in an attempt to find a cure for lung cancer using this technique.


• Treating Diseases: 

  1. Gene Identification & insertion of TB resistant gene in cattle is done successful in China.
  2. Treating HIV: A Chinese scientist claimed that he helped make the world’s first “genetically-edited” babies in whom a gene linked to HIV was remove using CRISPR technique.


• Controlling Epidemics: Example: With better understanding of the changes in genes we can understand the variants of the coronavirus and their impacts on Humans.


• Develop indigenous capacity: to generate, maintain, analyze, utilize and communicate large-scale genome data, in a scalable manner.


• Scientific understanding of evolution both from a biological and sociological (migration patterns, rituals, etc.) point of view


Conclusion: In the recent years India has pushed into Next Generation Sequencing(NGS) technologies which provide massively parallel analysis, extremely high-throughput from multiple samples at much reduced cost. An NSG facility is recently launched in Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad. However it brings a lot of privacy and medical ethics issues due to applications such as gene editing. For this, the government has introduced DNA Technologies(Use and Application) Regulation bill, 2019.

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