Current context: 

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) has officially announced the completion of the ‘10,000 genome’ project, which aimed to create a reference database of whole-genome sequences in India.

About current context:

  • In 2006, India sequenced its complete human genome, establishing a diverse database that represents the country’s population’s diversity.
  • The United Kingdom, China, and the United States are among the countries that have programmes to sequence at least 1,00,000 of their genomes.

What is genome sequencing?

  • Genome sequencing is a groundbreaking scientific method that has significantly enhanced our comprehension of genetics and led to significant discoveries.
  • Genome sequencing is the systematic method of identifying the precise sequence of bases within an organism’s entire genome.
  • A genome is the complete set of DNA instructions in a cell, containing all the genetic information necessary for an organism’s development and functioning.

The Role of Genes:

  • Genes are specific DNA units that contain instructions for protein production.
  • Proteins are essential components in an organism’s physiology and function.

Whole Genome Sequencing:

  • All living organisms, from bacteria to mammals, possess their own distinct genetic code or genome.
  • Whole genome sequencing is a single-step laboratory procedure that determines the order of bases in an organism’s genome.

Let’s explore the steps involved:

  • DNA Shearing: Scientists use molecular scissors to cut an organism’s DNA into smaller pieces. These fragments are small enough for sequencing machines to read.
  • DNA Barcoding: Small DNA tags (bar codes) are added to identify which piece of sheared DNA belongs to which organism.
  • DNA Sequencing: Bar-coded DNA from multiple organisms is combined and placed in a DNA sequences. The sequencer identifies the A, C, T, and G bases for each bacterial sequence.

The Genetic Alphabet

  • Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a chemical substance that provides instructions for regulating growth and development.
  • DNA is composed of two twisted strands, forming the iconic double helix structure.
  • The strands are made up of four nucleotide bases: adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G), and cytosine ©.

Applications of Genome Sequencing:

  • Personalized Medicine: Genome sequencing enables tailoring medical treatments based on an individual’s genetic makeup.
  • Disease Diagnosis: Identifying genetic variations associated with diseases helps in early diagnosis and targeted therapies.
  • Agriculture and Biotechnology: Genome sequencing aids in crop improvement, pest resistance, and livestock breeding.
  • Evolutionary Studies: Comparing genomes across species sheds light on evolutionary relationships.


  • The Genetic Information Processing (GIP) project in India raises concerns about scientific racism, data privacy, and ethical issues.
  • It raises questions about the potential for genetic mapping to reinforce stereotypes and deepen existing identity politics. 
  • The lack of a comprehensive data privacy bill further complicates matters. 
  • Ethical concerns include the potential for gene modification or selective breeding.

Genome India Project:

  • The Genome India Project aims to sequence the genomes of thousands of Indian individuals.
  • It will provide insights into population genetics, disease susceptibility, and personalized healthcare.
  • The project’s significance lies in understanding India’s genetic diversity and addressing health challenges.

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Gaganyaan Mission: India’s Ascent to the Stars