Using Supercomputing facility the whole genome sequencing of a Wildtype strain of Zebra fish has been complete. With this achievement India has entered into the arena of whole genome sequencing of animals.This has been achieved by scientists at the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) constituent of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.
The scientists have also launched a project "Kaurava" trying to study natural variation in 100 offsprings from a single parent of wild type zebra fish strain.
Making this announcement Director General CSIR SK Brahmachari and Scientist at IGIB Sridhar Sivasubbu said at a press conference on Wednesday that 89 Gigabytes of sequence data is now being analysed which would help create disease specific models and drug screening even for the humans, as Zebra fish genome is about half the size of the human genome containing 1700 million DNA base pairs.
Four centimeter long Zebra fish is native to Indian rivers and is available from Assam to Kerala. It has attracted scientific interest worldwide as being a vertebrate it has blood, eye, heart, kidney and other biological processes that share many features of the human system. Its optically transparent embryo, maturity within three months and large number of embryos being produced per week per female (250 per week per female) also makes it an ideal model, they said.
With the genome sequence in hand scientists at IGIB would like to decipher the genetic cause for various complex disorders such as cardio vascular, metabolic and neuro degenerative disorders among others.
Zebra fish model has been used successfully to pinpoint the specific mutation in the gene which causes the human European population to have a light skin colour compared to the Africans, added Sridhar Sivasubbu.