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UK Biobank’s Genome Sequencing Initiative

Why is it in the news?

  • The UK Biobank has released complete genome sequences from 500,000 British volunteers.
  • This dataset is made accessible to scientists worldwide for research purposes.


About the Genome and Sequencing

·       The genome is the entire set of DNA instructions found in a cell.

·       In humans, it consists of 23 pairs of chromosomes in the cell nucleus and a small chromosome in the cell’s mitochondria.

·       DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) carries genetic information for organism development and functioning.

·       DNA contains unique chemical codes represented by the order of Adenine (A), Cytosine (C), Guanine (G), and Thymine (T), the four nucleotide bases present in DNA.

·       Genome sequencing involves determining the order of DNA nucleotides in a genome (the order of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts).

Key Initiatives for Human Genome Sequencing

·       Human Genome Project: Launched in 1990 and completed in 2003, covering approximately 92% of the total human genome sequence.

·       Telomere to Telomere (T2T) Consortium: In 2022, it achieved sequencing the entire human genome (100%).

·       Genome India Project (GIP) and IndiGen Program: Launched by India to advance human genome sequencing initiatives.


Significance of Genome Sequencing

·       Allows scientists to understand genetic variations, hereditary traits, and susceptibility to diseases.

·       Advances in genomic research contribute to personalized medicine and disease prevention.

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