Andhra Pradesh

NIO launches project for mapping genetic diversity in Indian ocean

Indian ocean

Indian ocean

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Institute of Oceanography (CSIR-NIO), Goa, has initiated a project for mapping the genetic diversity of organisms and the effect of micronutrients and trace metals on them in the Indian Ocean supported by the CSIR, under one of its flagship projects TraceBioMe.

The project envisages extensive sampling of water, sediments, planktons and various organisms in different parts of the Indian Ocean to study the presence of different kinds of organisms and the trace metals and micronutrients found therein using modern state-of-the-art molecular techniques as well classical techniques. In the first phase, microscopic organisms will be investigated.

90-day long expedition

A 90-day long expedition onboard research vessel RV Sindhu Sadhana with 30 scientists took off from Visakhapatnam on Monday and will be completed in two-legs till the end of May, covering over 9,000 nautical miles, and ending in Goa. The data generated under this programme will help in a long way to achieve the SDG14 goals, which aim at conserving and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.

Biological diversity in the oceans has decreased dramatically since industrialisation began in the 19th century. However, only a small fraction of the species in the deep sea and polar oceans have so far been identified, making the loss of species in the oceans much more difficult to record and evaluate, than on land.

Scientists from the CSIR-NIO have set out on a mission to identify and characterise the genes and proteins in the ocean to understand the cellular-level operations of organisms in the ocean by utilising the emerging biomedical techniques, such as proteomics and genomics.

Proteins act as a catalyst for the biogeochemical reaction the organisms undergo in the ocean. By studying proteomics, one can identify the biogeochemistry of the organisms under varying ocean conditions. These studies will help one understand cellular biochemistry and the response of ocean to the climate change, nutrient stress and increasing pollution.

This study will enable scientists to identify the factors controlling the changes in RNA and DNA in the oceans and various stressors impacting them. Further they will be used as tracers to track the causative factors and suggest possible solutions for their mitigation impacting society. In addition, these large pool of RNA and DNA library of the oceans would be utilised for future bioprospecting in the Indian Ocean for human benefit.

Rapid advances in sequencing technologies and bioinformatics have enabled exploration of the ocean genome. Exploring the ocean genome will enable to increase the growing number of commercial biotechnology applications, extending from multiple anticancer treatments to cosmetics and industrial enzymes, to antiviral molecules.


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Printable version | May 27, 2022 3:24:55 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/nio-launches-project-for-mapping-genetic-diversity-in-indian-ocean/article34084790.ece