Dr Harsh Vardhan Urges Indian Scientists to Investigate the Genesis of Common Diseases Afflicting Indians

Dr Harsh Vardhan Urges Indian Scientists to Investigate the Genesis of Common Diseases Afflicting Indians and to Translate Such Understanding Into Solutions for the Common Man.

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Science and Technology, has said that research into Ayurgenomics would get full government support as it holds out exciting possibilities in mankind’s search for low-cost solutions to the global disease burden.

After visiting Clinical Genomics, Con-focal Lab, Zebra Fish, FACS, BSL-3 and Animal House facilities, he appreciated the efforts of the present Director, Dr. Rajesh Gokhale and that of earlier Director, Dr. Samir Brahmachari in bringing up CSIR-IGIB as a unique institution in the country.

He urged scientists and technologists working on genomics and integrative biology to focus on common diseases afflicting Indians and to translate their work into more effective cures. Addressing the staff of the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB), a Laboratory of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), here today, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “More than ever before we need local, affordable and effective health solutions for alleviating the misery of the common man."

Speaking to scientists and staff of the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB), a constituent Laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), on Saturday, Dr Harsh Vardhan stressed that “Ayurveda holds out solutions for preventive & personalized medicines because it is based on holistic understanding of an individual. This fact is recognized the world over.”

Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “The Narendra Modi Government will do more than any previous regime for the advancement of Ayurgenomics. Already, a separate Ministry has been created for Ayurveda and traditional forms of medicine. Yoga is already integrated into the mind space of the global citizen thanks to the Prime Minister’s breakthrough with having June 21 declared as International Yoga Day.”

The Minister pointed out that India is experiencing the world’s highest loss of potentially productive years of life. The burden of non-communicable diseases has also outstripped that of communicable diseases. At this juncture, the country needs affordable, home-grown solutions and therefore looks up to the fast-growing new field of genomics and integrative biology.

Dr Harsh Vardhan said genomics and integrative biology are poised to emerge as the “space science” of the 21st century.

“For much of the 20th century, the space race dominated the public imagination on scientific progress. In the 21st century, a country will be judged by its achievements in human genome sequencing. We have already arrived there because our Ayurveda conceptualized individualized health care solutions first,” the Minister pointed out.

Diagnostic technologies, high science therapeutics and specialized services developed by CSIR-IGIB could contribute towards provision of quality affordable healthcare to our people while generating valuable intellectual property that could be monetized globally.

In December 2009, CSIR-IGIB created ripples by announcing success with genome sequencing of an Indian citizen (whose identity is confidential) and that put India in the elite band of nations with this capability. The breakthrough was interpreted as a signpost in the search for low-cost health solutions.

Elaborating on the potential of genomics he mentioned that scientists have discovered the unique Indian genetic risks for asthma, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases and other conditions. They are stressing the need for creating a network of collaboration between clinicians and scientists. The new initiative in skin biology, while attracting industrial collaborations with Persistent and Unilever-India, is simultaneously delivering societal values by understanding neglected diseases such as vitiligo.

Also under implementation with HP-India is the first integrated, rapidly deployable, cloud-connected eHealth Centre for Affordable and Transparent healthcare.

Dr Harsh Vardhan also appreciated the efforts to address India-specific information on diseases through the programmes like “Guardian” which uses the power of genomics for systematic characterization of rare genetic disorders in India. The inter-disciplinary efforts towards translational and innovative research through Ayurgenomics in the CSIR Unit - TRISUTRA, can also catalyze future leadership in Molecular Medicine.


CSIR succeeds in Whole Genome Sequencing of Holy basil (Tulsi) – A First Step to unravel the Secrets of its Therapeutic Potential

CSIR-Central Institute of Medicinal & Aromatic Plants (CSIR-CIMAP), Lucknow, has published whole genome sequence of Ocimum sanctum, the wonder plant ‘Holy basil’ or ‘Tulsi’, which is revered as ‘Vishnupriya’ and worshipped for over more than 3000 years through the sacred traditions of Hindu culture. This is the first report of complete genome sequence of a traditional and most respected medicinal plant of India, using a composite next generation sequencing technologies.

Considering the metabolic and therapeutic potential of this revered plant, the availability of whole genome sequence is the first step to understand and unravel the secrets of this ‘mother of all herbs’ and to provide scientific validity to the traditional claims of its utility in diverse medicinal usage.

Being the most popular household plant in India, ‘Holi basil’ or ‘Tulsi’ is traditionally used for the cure of several ailments. This herb is described as “The Queen of Herbs,” “The Incomparable One” and “The Mother Medicine of Nature” in the Ayurvedic text of Charaka Samhita. All parts of this legendary, divine and most cherished ancient herb (dried leaf, dried seed, and dried whole plant) are used in several systems of traditional medicine, including Ayurveda, Greek, Roman, Siddha, and Unani. It is used in the preparations to cure various diseases like bronchitis, bronchial asthma, malaria, diarrhea, dysentery, skin diseases, arthritis, painful eye diseases, chronic fever, insect bite etc. It has also been described to possess anti-fertility, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, anti-emetic, anti-spasmodic, analgesic, adaptogenic and diaphoretic actions. Many of the basil oil constituents have found applications as medicinal ingredients, flavors, fragrance, etc.

‘Holi basil’ or ‘Tulsi’ is rich in phenylpropanoids, terpenoids and their derivatives, and many of these are implicated for different therapeutic activities. The availability of the genome sequence now opens the possibility to identify genes involved in producing therapeutic molecules and to produce them in vitro. This will also facilitate identification of not yet identified genes involved in the synthesis of important secondary metabolites in this plant. Specific pathway related genes identified or mined in this genome could be used for the production of secondary metabolites following synthetic biology approaches. The development of molecular tools and genomic resources will accelerate molecular breeding and ultimately the utility of Holy basil in medical community.

The nuclear genome of Holy basil is the smallest (386 Mb) in the family Lamiaceae while the chloroplast genome (142,245 bp) is the smallest in the order Lamiales. According to the chloroplast genome similarity, O. sanctum shows maximum evolutionary closeness to Salvia miltiorrhiza, a plant of Chinese system of traditional medicine. Although, both these plants predominantly produce phenylpropanoids, and both have the identical diploid number of chromosomes (2n = 16), the genome size of O. sanctum (386 Mb) is a little more than half of the genome size of S. miltiorrhiza indicating that O. sanctum genome is more compact than that of S. miltiorrhiza.

Published on May 28, 2015 in BMC Genomics (2015) 16:413 [DOI 10.1186/s12864-015-1640-z].

For further details on this development, please contact the Corresponding Author: Dr Ajit Kumar Shasany (Mobile number 09415027245)

Dr. Harsh Vardhan Urged the Indian Scientists to be the Part of a Movement Wherein the Prime Minister Wants to Take Forward the Country in a Fast Forward Manner

The Union Minister for Science & Technology and Ministry of Earth Sciences Dr. Harsh Vardhan, has urged the Indian Scientists to be the part of a movement wherein the Prime Minister wants to take the country on a path of progress in a fast forward manner. Speaking at the National Brain Research Centre (NBRC) at Manesar in Haryana today, he urged Scientists to hold brainstorming sessions to find solutions for various problems being faced by the country as the Prime Minister also believes that science has every potential to find solutions for most problems.

The Minister while inaugurating the Magneto Encephalo Graphy (MEG) facility at NBRC urged the Centre to connect itself to various institutes in the country like NIMHANS in Bangalore and VIMHANs in Delhi to be able to serve people of the country better. He asked the NBRC to hold a national level conclave to make this Centre a focal point for the best research in the world in the field of brain research. Dr. Harsh Vardhan said such research could include treatment for brain ailments in the alternate system of medicines like Ayurveda and Homeopathy which are also adopting several treatment protocols for brain ailments.

The MEG is a component of the Centre for Research in Epilepsy Research at NBRC funded by the Department of Biotechnology and is a unique experiment of two institutions AIIMS and NBRC.

The MEG is a highly sensitive instrument which can record and measure extremely minute magnetic waves arising in the brain resulting from brain activity in the neurons. The MEG recording measures and localises the changes in the magnetic field and gives us an indicator of both normal and abnormal activity in the brain.

The abnormal activities in the brain resulting from Epilepsy (convulsions) are identified by this equipment and presently AIIMs doctors are treating such ailments using results from this MEG. Mostly these patients are treated by drugs, which suppress these discharges. However in about 20% of the patients the drugs are not effective and the portion of abnormal brain tissue needs to be surgically removed. This abnormal tissue has to be very carefully mapped so that damage to the normal, useful structures of the brain may be avoided. The sensitivity of the MEG helps in achieving this accurate localization of abnormal tissue. The patients are assessed in AIIMS, investigated by the MEG at NBRC and surgery is performed at AIIMS. This has already benefited a number of patients (approx. 400) all over India and a few from countries like Afghanistan, Nepal and other countries.

The president of the NBRC Society Prof P N Tandon the Director NBRC Prof. Subrata Sinha, Principal Investigator and Co- Principal Investigator of the Epilepsy Project Prof. P. Sarat Chandra (Neurosurgery) and Prof. Manjari Tripathi (Neurology) from AIIMS and other Co- Investigators Prof. Prasun Kr. Roy, Prof. Pravat Kr. Mandal and Dr. Arpan Banerjee were among several Senior Scientists who participated in today’s Conference.

The National Brain Research Centre (NBRC), Manesar, Haryana is an autonomous institute under the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology. It was created to advance the area of basic and clinical neuroscience.

NBRC is one of the very few centres that encompass the entire spectrum of neuroscience research under one roof.

NBRC is a deemed university and awards its own degrees. It has an integrated MSc/PhD and PhD Programme.


Auction for Sale (Re-Issue) of Government Stocks

The Government of India have announced the Sale (re-issue) of (i) “7.68 per cent Government Stock 2023” for a notified amount of Rs.3,000 crore (nominal) through price based auction, (ii) “7.72 per cent Government Stock 2025” for a notified amount of Rs.7,000 crore (nominal) through price based auction, (ii) “8.24 per cent Government Stock  2033” for a notified amount of Rs.3,000 crore (nominal) through price based auction, and (iv) “8.17 per cent Government Stock 2044” for a notified amount of  Rs.3,000 crore (nominal) through price based auction,. The auctions will be conducted using multiple price method. The auctions will be conducted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Mumbai Office, Fort, Mumbai on June 05, 2015 (Friday).

Up to 5% of the notified amount of the sale of the stocks will be allotted to eligible individuals and Institutions as per the Scheme for Non-Competitive Bidding Facility in the Auction of Government Securities.

Both competitive and non-competitive bids for the auction should be submitted in electronic format on the Reserve Bank of India Core Banking Solution (E-Kuber) system on June 05, 2015. The non-competitive bids should be submitted between 10.30 a.m. and 11.30 a.m. and the competitive bids should be submitted between 10.30 a.m. and 12.00 noon.  

         The result of the auctions will be announced on June 05, 2015 and payment by successful bidders will be on June 08, 2015 (Monday).  

The Stocks will be eligible for “When Issued” trading in accordance with the guidelines on ‘When Issued transactions in Central Government Securities’ issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) vide circular No. RBI/2006-07/178 dated November 16, 2006 as amended from time to time.


Minister of State(I/C)for Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan to address 6th OPEC International Seminar

Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Petroleum and Natural Gas is visiting Vienna, Austria from June 2 – 4, 2015. During the official visit, he will be addressing the 6th OPEC International Seminar organized by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as a Special Guest. He will also be holding bilateral consultations with Secretary General of OPEC.

On the margins of the Seminar, Shri Pradhan will be meeting with the Oil and Gas Ministers of various countries like Russia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Angola and UAE.

OPEC is an important source of crude import for India. About 85% of total imports of crude comes from the OPEC countries.

Shri Pradhan will be accompanied by senior officials of MEA, MoPNG and CMDs / MDs of ONGC, IOC, GAIL, BPCL and OVL.


Dr Harsh Vardhan Urges Indian Scientists to Investigate the Genesis of Common Diseases Afflicting Indians Dr Harsh Vardhan Urges Indian Scientists to Investigate the Genesis of Common Diseases Afflicting Indians Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 10:10 AM Rating: 5

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