Population-specific genetics, key to personalised medicine

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on January 17, 2020 Published on January 17, 2020

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‘Personalised medicine’ — what is the promise and the latest advances to make it possible — is the key topic of discussion at a workshop in Hyderabad on ‘Human Diversity and Health Disparities’.

The three-day workshop — organised by the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum, with support from the Department of Science and Technology, India, and the US State Department — began on Thursday.

The thinking is that for the field of personalised medicine to grow, it is imperative to understand population-specific genetics. At present most of the available data is based on European populations, according to the workshop convenors — Thangaraj from the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CSIR-CCMB), Hyderabad, and Keshav Singh of the University of Alabama, Birmingham, US.

The researchers are deliberating on the genetic and epigenetic — how one’s genetic make-up and surroundings modify your genes — basis of different forms of cancer, diabetes, heart and neurological diseases in South Asia and the US. They are trying to understand the genetic basis of diseases among various ethnic populations.

The workshop is being attended by around 200 researchers, many of whom are PhD scholars from India and the US.

CCMB Director Rakesh K Mishra said , “Variation in our population and differential susceptibility to diseases and response to treatment methods are known. With genome information we can now think of precision and personalised approach for more effective and economical approaches to healthcare. This meeting brings experts from India and the US to discuss the latest findings. This is likely to help us finetune the way towards genome-assisted healthcare.”

Published on January 17, 2020
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