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Indian researchers start working on genome sequencing of Covid-19

Whole-genome sequencing is the method used to determine the complete DNA sequence of a specific organism’s genome.

Published: 09th April 2020 09:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th April 2020 09:11 AM   |  A+A-

A picture taken on April 3, 2020 at the microbiology laboratory of the Circolo di Varese hospital shows samples of the novel coronavirus, amid the spread of the epidemic COVID-19. (Photo | AFP)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  How Covid-19 is behaving in India? Researchers from the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, and the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), New Delhi, have started work on the whole genome sequencing of novel coronavirus.

“This will help us understand the evolution of the virus, how dynamic is it and how fast it imitates. This study will help us know how fast it evolves and what are the future aspects of it,” said Dr Rakesh Mishra, director, CCMB. 

Whole-genome sequencing is the method used to determine the complete DNA sequence of a specific organism’s genome. The approach for sequencing the latest coronavirus involves getting samples from patients that are positive and sending these samples to a sequencing centre. Genome sequencing needs a very large number of samples for study. “Without much data, if you make any conclusion it may not be right. At the moment we are accumulating as many sequencings as we can and once, we have few hundred sequencings with us, then we will be able to make many inferences from many biological aspects of this virus,” said Dr Mishra.

In the next 3-4 weeks, researchers would be able to get at least 200-300 isolates and this information would help them make a further conclusion about the behaviour of this virus. For this, National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, has also been requested to give a virus that has been isolated from different places. This will help scientists to cover the whole country to get a bigger and clearer picture. This will help the institutes to establish the family tree of the virus. Dr Mishra said that based on this they can study from where the virus has come and which strain has more similarity, the varied mutations and which strain is weak and what strain is strong. 

What is genome sequencing?
Genome sequencing is figuring out the order of DNA nucleotides. It is often compared to “decoding,” but a sequence is still very much in code. In a sense, a genome sequence is simply a very long string of letters in a mysterious language. Whole-genome sequencing is the method used to determine the complete DNA sequence of a specific organism’s genome.

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