Indians have no natural HIV shield

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, Apr 26 | Updated: Apr 27 2008, 06:45am hrs
A monumental study on genetic profile of the countrys population has revealed that majority of Indians do not have natural protection against HIV/AIDS. The known protective markerrs333in the CCRS gene is virtually absent in the Indian population.

The study also revealed that unlike the vegetarian population of South India, their counterparts in North India are vulnerable to cardio-vascular diseases and they have very low levels of vitamin B12. The tribals of eastern and northeastern parts of the country are largely exposed to the risks of malaria.

The Indian Genome Variation Consortium a network of six institutes of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Centre for Genomic Applications, Indian Statistical Institute and anthropologists from various institute which undertook the study generated information on over 4,000 genetic markers from over 1000 biomedically important and pharmacogenetically relevant genes in 15,000 individuals emcompassing the diversity of population across the country.

The results of the first phase of the studyGenetic Landscape of the People of India : A Canvas for Disease Gene Exploration has been published in the Journal Of Genetics in April 20, 2008. The study was taken up in 2003 with a fund of $ 5.8 million. The study indicated a strong association between genetic and linguistic profiles in India and that there are significant genetic differences in the frequencies of disease-associated genetic markers, said CSIR director-general Samir K Brahmachari.