Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU) here has received Rs.1.2 crore from the Department of Biotechnology of Government of India for genomics research.

School of Biological Sciences at the university was a Centre of Excellence in Genomic Sciences with state-of-the-art infrastructure facilities and the research work carried out in the field of genetics, molecular biology and genomics were well known, Kalyani Mathivanan, Vice-Chancellor, said in a press release on Tuesday.

A national-level network research project on brucellosis, cattle to human disease, which is also called rock fever, has been initiated by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. Totally, 12 institutions across the country, including MKU, would work in this project to develop diagnostics and vaccines for brucellosis. The project would be carried out by a team that included J .Rajendhran, Assistant Professor in Department of Genetics, J. Sridhar, and P. Gunasekaran, Vice-Chancellor of Thiruvalluvar University in Vellore.

Dr. Rajendhran saidt the university would do whole genome sequencing and annotation of selected brucella strains isolated from various parts in the country. The major objective of the three-year project would be identification of bacterial genes responsible for causing diseases in cattle and humans.

Also, the university would create a dedicated web resource for the brucella genome repository and conduct national-level training programmes in genomics and bioinformatics to researchers from other participating institutions. Brucellosis was endemic in many parts of the world and characterised by chronic infections, abortion and sterility in livestock. It was caused by bacteria belonging to the genus Brucella and human infection, through raw milk or milk products/meat or contact with animals.

In humans, brucellosis was a systemic/febrile illness resulting in gastrointestinal manifestations, osteoarthritis, endocarditis and neurological disorders. Clinical diagnosis of human brucellosis was complicated since there were no specific signs or symptoms and no vaccine for prevention.

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