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Project to probe fish gene make-up

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 29: The Centre has approved a project to ascertain the genetic make-up of two of the most popular fish species in the country.

Four leading aquaculture and agriculture research organisations across the nation will take up the study to sequence the genes of rohu (Labeo rohita) and magur (Clarias batrachus) soon.

The genetic structure of not even a single fish in India is known till date.

In genetic studies, putting all basic molecules or nucleotides of a genome in order does the genome sequence.

Genome is the genetic make up of an organism.

On the contrary, only four molecules or nucleotides contribute to build an organism’s entire chromosomal makeup in different sequences and a single gene is created with a particular sequence of the nucleotides. For example, the human genome is made of more than three billion of these genetic letters or nucleotides.

J.K. Jena, director, National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (NBFGR), was recently in the city to take part in an international symposium on genomics in aquaculture at the Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture (CIFA).

“Indian Aquaculture Statistical Research Institute, New Delhi, the NBFGR, the CIFA and Anand Agriculture University, Gujarat, will take up the study of the gene sequencing in the two common fish and the Lucknow-based NBFGR will coordinate the research findings,” he told The Telegraph.

The application of genomic research in aquaculture is in its infancy in the country. A couple of decades ago, the cost of equipment to know the sequencing was very high and there were limited experts in the subject.