Scientists in Bangladesh have initiated a research on the whole genome sequencing of humans to identify genetic diseases first time in the country.
The programme was launched at the genomics laboratory of Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR.
Science and technology minister Yeafesh Osman inaugurated the programme as chief guest at BCSIR in the city.
“Many probe samples related to genome sequencing and specific mutation used to be sent abroad for diagnosis which was very costly and time consuming,” the minister said.
“We don’t have to send any product to foreign laboratories to earn geographical indications and patents. It can be done in Bangladesh now,” he added.
The scientists at the BCSIR said that latest NovaSeq machine worth Tk 120 million has been installed to indentify cancer and genetic diseases.
The machine can sequence genomes of 48 people within three days.
A reference micro chip will be created by matching the genetic markers found in Bangladesh with the ones found in foreign countries that will lead to cheap and easy identification of diseases.
Other than saving a huge amount of money, it will save valuable gene information from leaking out.
The first whole human sequencing cost $3.5 billion and around 13 years of research.
Biology refers to genome sequence as the order of an organism’s DNA. A human body contains 37 trillion cells that bear information of the body’s development and origin.
The genome sequence of a cell depends on its DNA and RNA. DNA saves the information of organism for a long time.
Whole genome sequencing is the process of determining the complete DNA sequence of an organism’s genome. It reveals the total number of genes in an organism, their characteristics and pattern of actions.
Benefits of the programme
There are four scientists engaged in the programme working in the laboratory as a team. All of them are highly trained from abroad. Also, a number of British and Australian scientists are involved in the programme.
Genomes of 20 breast cancer patients are being sequenced initially as part of the programme, according to the project director and BCSIR chief Selim Khan.
“Initially it will cost 100,000 taka and later will decrease to Tk 15,000 to 20,000,” he added.