Having mapped genome, scientists look further

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | Visakhapatnam, January 4: | Updated: Jan 9 2008, 01:53am hrs
Scientists have mapped human genome, but the next step remains to understand the human evolution and also to prescribe suitable medicines to individuals based on their genetic make up. The Nobel Laureate Roger Kornberg is confident that the process would be completed in the next five years.

Addressing a plenary session at the 95th Indian Science Congress in Visakhapatnam on Friday he said, "genes are distributed on random basis. Genetic studies show that no groups are inferior or superiors. We need to understand the human evolution. Future genetic studies can be taken at a cost of $ 1000 per person and appropriate medicine for individuals can be prescribed."

There are 32,000 genes in human beings. DNA, gene and chromosomes are collectively called genome which form the genetic basis of an organism. Human beings respond differently to different drugs said Srinivas Pentyala, a noted geneticist from New York.

He suggested "from the study of genomics, we should move to the study of proteomics."

The Indian Council for Medical Research has set up a task force under the national project for clinical laboratory parameters to screen about half-a-million people said Pushpa M Bhargava who heads this pilot project. Bhargava is the former secretary of department of biotechnology and former vice-chairman of Knowledge Commission and founder director of the Hyderabad based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB). He said that the project would start this year.

DNA Profiling Bill 2006 is pending in the Parliament and the proposed law has suggested setting up of a DNA profile advisory board. Prasad Dhulipala, a geneticist from New Jersey that many developed countries have enacted legislations to facilitate study on human genomes and related medicines. US has DNA Identification Act 1994. UK has a database of 2 million DNA profile. Canada has also enacted similar legislation.