Saturday, 2 February 2008

Indian Genetic Data Not Valid: CCMB chief

February 2, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Feb 1: The data on genetic diseases and problems in India is invalid as it is based more on information collected from corporate hospitals in big cities.
According to Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology director Dr Lalji Singh, the government's data on genetics in India need to be revised after taking into consideration the genetic diseases and problems encountered exclusively in rural India.
"The problem of genetic disorders in India is enormous . Millions of people are suffering from inherited diseases like thalassemia, muscular dystrophy, diabetes mellitus, coronary heart diseases. Several diseases prevalent in India are yet to be identified and reported. There are, for instance, families whose female members over four generations do not have fingers and toes. There are families where generation after generation only disabled children are born. These cannot be explained on the basis of our current knowledge and hence their genetic basis needs to be established," Dr Lalji Singh said.
Addressing a press conference after receiving a DNA sequencer donated by Applied Biosystems and Labindia Instruments to the Genome Foundation, Hyderabad, Dr Singh said there's a huge gap between the pace at which new discoveries and technologies are being developed, and the pace with which they get utilised by clinicians for
the benefit of the common man.
He said the DNA sequencer will be utilised in rural India to conduct research on genetic disorders and diseases. "We need not send tests outside the country for sophisticated tests henceforth. Once we establish the genome foundation's research centre in Hyderabad, all genetic tests including biochemical, cytogenetic and DNA-based diagnostic services for common disorders can be done here," he said.
Mr Stevenson, president of Applied Biosystems said, "our partnership with Labindia and the Genome Foundation, creates an infrastructure whereby researchers can build their understanding of many diseases."

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