The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has added yet another feather to its cap.

Scientists at the Council’s New Delhi-based Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IIGB) have succeeded in completely sequencing the genome of an individual, enabling India to join a league of select countries — the U.S., the U.K., Canada, China and Korea.

Announcing the “path breaking” achievement, Union Science and Technology Minister Prithviraj Chavan said India had now successfully bridged the technological gap that existed a decade ago.

The IIGB scientists were able to achieve the feat within 10 weeks, from September 25 to December 4, a duration comparable with recent efforts across the world.

Describing it as a beginning of a new era in Indian medical research, CSIR Director-General Samir K. Brahmachari said a major significance of the Indian effort was that it would help understand several diseases that were of importance to India and other developing countries. The effort would also add to global knowledge on genetic variations and pre-disposition to various diseases, he said.

The CSIR had successfully completed the genetic diversity of the Indian population. It had also completed the genome sequence of a fish variety, called Zebrafish, popularly used by the scientific community as an organism for modelling human diseases.

Noting that Zebrafish genome was half the size of human genome, he said its sequencing earlier this year gave the CSIR the confidence to take up the challenge of human genome sequencing.

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