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Ganit Labs sequences nature’s pharmacy, the neem plant’s genome

150 150 Strand Life Sciences
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Bangalore, India

Ganit labs announced today that it has sequenced and analyzed the genome and its coding parts of neem plant, Azadirachta indica. Neem is a unique, versatile and important tree species, used for multiple purposes, and often called as the panacea of all diseases. The plant has special significance in our country and due to its diverse use, is rightfully called as nature’s pharmacy. Neem oil and its derivatives support multiple cottage industries in India and is one of the important contributors to our bio-economy.

New and innovative technologies, like next-generation sequencing technology, have revolutionized science in unraveling the molecular architecture of genomes of living organisms, from humans to plants. This disruptive technology is transforming the way we practice medicine and understand the complexities of life forms. Ganit Labs has established a Bio-IT lab with next-generation sequencing instruments with an inter-disciplinary environment where both computer science and biology play key role. Ganit Labs is well placed to reap the benefits of IT revolution in India and apply that for innovation in healthcare, agriculture and biodiversity. In addition to neem, Ganit Labs has sequenced tongue cancer genomes from Indian patients and is engaged in discovering novel genetic changes in Indian oral cancer population.

Neem tree and its parts have been used since time immemorial in India and its insecticidal, pesticidal, fungicidal and medicinal properties are well known. Understanding the molecular architecture of neem genome and its various coding parts will enhance the knowledge of this wonder species further. Ganit Labs is currently building an information knowledge portal to store, retrieve and share neem data. The lab believes that using technology in building open information portal is key to sharing knowledge openly and empowering young people to utilize the information and come up with newer innovation.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Binay Panda, Head of Ganit Labs said, “We at Ganit Labs are committed to excellence in scientific education, research and innovation. By focusing on India-centric problems and making the results open and widely accessible, we hope to encourage and inspire young minds in taking up career in science and scientific innovation that is needed to building a strong, prosperous and equitable India. We believe that our current sequencing study on neem will provide the right scientific impetus for students and young scientists in studying one the most important plant species of our country. Currently, we are building an open access portal to host information gathered from the current study on genome, genome architecture, coding parts and molecular evolution of neem plant”.

Shri M.N. Vidyashankar, Principal Secretary, Department of IT, BT and S&T, Government of Karnataka said, “Government of Karnataka is committed in supporting biotechnology and bioinformatics through education, innovation and job creation. We are delighted that IBAB’s mission to create human resources through teaching, training, research and entrepreneurship is bearing fruits and that our support to the institute has created a world-class centre in Ganit Labs. We are confident going forward the State can create more opportunities for young people in this sector”.

Professor N. Yathindra, Director, Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology (IBAB) commenting on the occasion said, “The achievement of Ganit Labs is the testament of the fact that by being at the cutting edge of bioinformatics and biological analysis, we can solve some of nature’s mysteries. We are proud that IBAB played an important role in the first Indian de novo sequencing and analysis project”.

Professor Vijay Chandru, Chairman and CEO of Strand Life Sciences said, “The landmark achievement by Ganit Labs in the sequencing of Neem is yet another manifestation of value derived from bringing together the best in class in life sciences and informatics. At Strand Life Sciences we are extremely proud of what has been achieved by our partner within such a short period.”

About Ganit Labs

Ganit Labs is a genome sequencing and translational genomics lab based in Bangalore, India. It is a newly formed, not-for-profit, Government-funded, public-private partnership initiative between Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology and Strand Life Sciences. The lab uses second generation sequencing instruments, compute clusters and human brains to sequence, analyze and interpret genome data from variety of organisms. The lab focuses on solving India-centric scientific problems and understanding of complexity of life by conducting experiments using next-generation sequencing and DNA microarrays

The lab is funded by the Department of Information Technology, Government of India and Department of Information Technology, Biotechnology and Science & Technology, Government of Karnataka.

For further information contact:

Sumit Jain
K2 Communications
Mobile: 09886021715
Email: sumit.jain@k2communications.in

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