India's Genomics Mission (E)
In 1953, two microbiologists James Watson and Francis Creek of Cambridge University in England discovered the structure of DNA, the chemical that encodes instructions for building and replicating almost all living things. This discovery revolutionized Science in the 20th century and made possible the era of "new biology" with fields – like genomics or the study of genes, biotechnology and most recently deciphering of the human genetic blueprint. A deeper understanding of these building blocks of life helps unravel answers to challenges faced by humanity – answers that can help us find cures to diseases, the nature of viruses like COVID -19 and diseases in plants and animals just to name a few. India has also developed an impressive track record in genomic research and biotechnology. However, the Department of Bio-Technology has been working on mission mode to provide a roadmap and an added impetus towards the growing field of genomics research in areas like cancer, hereditary diseases like diabetes to the sequencing of viruses like COVID-19. So, in this episode of Science for a Self-Reliant India we travel to Pune’s National Centre for Microbial Resource (NCMR), which is a part of the National Centre for Cell Science, Bengaluru’s Centre for Brain Research at the Indian Institute of Science and Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics-Hyderabad to meet scientists and researchers who are working on some of the flagship programmes towards making India a leader in genomic research programmes like the Genome India Project, the Human Microbiome Initiative and the National Genomic Core.