Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, Jun 10, 2002
Industry & Economy
Science & Technology
DNA Repository dedicated to nation
KOLKATA, June 9
DEDICATING the country's first `Human DNA Repository of Indian Population' (HDRIP) to the nation here on Friday, the Governor of West Bengal, Mr Viren J.Shah, said, "DNA typing of biological material has become one of the most powerful tools for personal identification in forensic medicine and in criminal investigations.''
The project involved extensive study of a large number of endogamous sub-populations, resulting in the establishment of a genomic DNA Bank of Indian sub-population for further forensic and medico-diagnostic studies.
Among the dignitaries present at the dedication ceremony were Mr R.C. Tripathi, Secretary General of the Rajya Sabha, Dr S.E. Hasnain, Director, Centre for DNA fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD), Hyderabad, Mr L.C. Amarnathan, DG, Bureau of Police Research & Development, New Delhi, and Dr V.K. Kashyap, Director, CFSL, Kolkata.
Developed by scientists at the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Kolkata, under the Bureau of Police Research and Development, Government of India, the repository is considered to be a new milestone in human genome research in the country.
CFSL will lend DNA samples to researchers from different institutions, on the condition that the data generated will be utilised for research purposes only.
Stating that personal identification and determination of paternity were the two major subjects of forensic DNA analysis, he observed that it was essential that large databases are accumulated, storing DNA profiles of biological stains at crime scenes and DNA profiles of the body fluids of known and accused offenders.
The HDRIP is a significant outcome of the Ninth Plan project on `validation of highly polymorphic Loci and databases of their Alleles in Indian population'.
The data deposited with the Repository, the Governor said, will help "our country to store the invaluable genomic wealth and contribute greatly for future studies in forensic as well as medical science."
He urged CFSL to set up link forensic labs in the northern and western parts of the State, where lack of such facilities was causing inordinate delays in proceeding with murder cases.
Explaining the key features of HDRIP, Dr Kashyap said it had two major components - individual personal information (IPI) and individual genotyping information (IGI). Pointing out that by design, the genetic and personal information have been separated, he said only authorised persons are permitted to examine the IPI from the CFSL DNA Repository. He said the Repository was the storage system for DNA samples and their genotype profiles, collected from different States across the country.
It has a built-in capacity for preserving 1,50,000 DNA samples and at present it contains more than 8,000 DNA samples, taken randomly from individuals belonging to 107 population groups.
The Repository will help solve several genetic mysteries related to the biological field in the coming years, even as scientific know-how and technological tools continue to be developed, Dr Kashyap added.
Samples are designated in the form of a barcode number, which is unique for each sample, and contains population code, individual code and repository location code.
Authorised users can access quickly a particular sample and its concerned information through these barcode numbers. Dr Kashyap said a search option has been included in the software developed for the repository system to facilitate faster data retrieval from the stored information.
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