India announced recently, that it has completed the 10,000 genome project – a reference database of whole-genome sequences, from people in India. About 20 institutions were involved in the project. India has a population of 1.3 billion with over 4,600 population groups, many of them endogamous. 

This project is seen as an important step to find out about genetic variants that are unique to India, to customise drugs and gene-based therapies, give us answers about certain diseases, and to provide a deeper insight into the population’s diversity, and perhaps into genetic predispositions to disease that we may have. 

What are the implications of this genome sequencing? How far does India have to go to reap its potential benefits? What are the ethical concerns around the sharing of this data? Is India well-enough equipped to ensure health data privacy of individuals? 

Guest: Shambhavi Naik, PhD Head of Research and Chairperson of Advanced Biology Programme, Takshashila Institution 

Host: Zubeda Hamid 

Edited by Sharmada Venkatasubramanian. 

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