'Genomics Ushering a Revolution in Healthcare'

Published: 22nd September 2014 06:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd September 2014 06:12 AM   |  A+A-

BANGALORE: According to experts, genomics and new techniques in Next-Generation Sequencing are ushering a revolution in healthcare, neonatal testing as well as agriculture.

Sequencing the genome of any and every living being is the new mantra in genetic sciences, said Dr Raja Mugasimangalam, CEO, Genotypic.

“With the help of a blood sample, it can be revealed if you are prone to cancer, diabetes or other diseases, and the person you can marry and have healthy children with,” he said. 

Prof Samir K Brahmachari, former CSIR Director General and J C Bose National Fellow, said the whole world will soon collaborate on genomics.

The last decade has seen considerable progress in the use of genomic technologies like Next Generation Sequencing (NGS).

The technology has enabled generation of data on the structure and function of the human genome, thereby providing insights into the molecular basis of inherited diseases. This has paved the way for new approaches in diagnostics and therapy.

Similar advances have been made in the area of agriculture through molecular breeding programmes that identify useful traits in commercial plants that can be passed on through progenies to improve productivity.

Dr K V Ravi Shankar,  molecular biologist and principal scientist at Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, said he uses genomics to identify markers in vegetables like tomatoes.

“Genomics compliments traditional breeding methods that take about six years to choose a good hybrid. Genomics can cut down the time to about three years,” he explained.

“Nowadays, women deliver children after they turn 35 years and they are at a higher risk for diseases like autism, Down’s Syndrome etc. Embryos can be genetically screened for these diseases in prenatal screening. In assisted fertilisation, one can check for good and bad embryos,” Dr Mugasimangalam said while explaining the role genomics can play in general healthcare. 

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