Dr. Harsh Vardhan inaugurates NSG facility at CCMB

Hyderabad: Union Minister for Science and Technology Dr. Harsh Vardhan on Saturday inaugurated the Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) facility at the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) here.

The state-of-art facility includes cutting edge technology for high throughput genome sequencing. It will help in identifying the DNA sequence of people suffering from rare genetic diseases.

The facility will be helping genome sequencing to understand the genes responsible for some of the rare genetic diseases but still prevalent to a great extent in society. These diseases require a lot of care and attention to diagnose the cause, so that right diagnostics can be developed and be able to provide quality advice to those who are likely to suffer from such disorders,” Harsh Vardhan said, adding that facility was set up with Rs.8 crore and that it was the latest in the world.

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For a country like India with its heavy genetic disease burden, prenatal genetic screening and counseling are essential in preventing genetic disorders. And also the genetic cause of many diseases among Indian is poorly understood. The new facility will help in generating large scale genomic data from Indian populations critical for genetic diagnosis and therapy, a CCMB release said.

Using NGS, the CCMB can now sequence up to 30 human genomes or 384 diagnostics samples in a day. While this sequencing was conducted earlier too but it used to take about seven to 10 days, now it can be completed in a single day.

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With the facility, the CCMB will embark on single-cell genomics and transcriptomics using powerful barcoding capacities which would help researchers to individually tag genomes of up to 80,000 cells in eight minutes. This opens up multiple avenues in investigating the biology of individual cells in tissues as well as fighting disease like cancer by understanding the heterogeneity in respective cell populations.

Earlier, the Minister laid foundation stones for a new skilling, training and lecture hall complex at CCMB and a scale-up facility for agrochemicals, a pilot plant complex, at CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology.

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