Research Center For DNA Diagnostics
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The Research Centre for DNA Diagnostics (RCDD), Karnatak University, Dharwar, Karnataka, India, the foundation stone laid by Medical Education Minister V.S. Acharya, is being set up with the assistance of Rs. 3 crore sanctioned by the Department of Medical Education.
The primary objective of the centre is to identify hereditary disorders prevalent in north Karnataka and to conduct advanced research.
According to Pramod B. Gai, professor and coordinator, Department of Applied Genetics and Principal Investigator of the centre, studies have revealed the high frequency of consanguineous marriages especially uncle-niece and first cousin marriages south India.
“Marriages between close relatives are high in rural north Karnataka. This increases the frequency of homozygosity of harmful recessive genes in the population and in turn, increases the co-efficiency of inbreeding. As a result compared to other areas, there is a high frequency of hereditary disorders in the region,” he said.
The research conducted at the centre would be at four levels — Single Gene Disorders (for example, Sickle Cell Anaemia, Thallassemia, Haemophilia), Chromosomal Disorders (Down’s Syndrome, Turner’s Syndrome, Klinefelter Syndrome), Biochemical Disorders (Phenyl Ketone Urea, Galactosemia, Alkaptonurea) and Multifactorial/Polygenic Disorders (Diabetes, Cardio Vascular diseases and various types of Cancer).
According to the initial plan, the tests would be conducted on samples taken from patients who approach Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) Hospital, Hubli, for treatment. During the next stage, the facility would be extended to other government and private medical colleges in north Karnataka.
The facilities would be extended to other parts of the State in phases. B. Vijay Chandra, Head, Department of Anatomy, KIMS, T.A. Shepur, Head, Department of Paediatrics, KIMS, M.L. Kulkarni, Head, Department of Paediatrics, JJM Medical College, Davangere, and K. Thangaraj, Senior Scientist, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, will be assisting in setting up the centre.
As part of the project, genetic counselling centres would be established at KIMS and also at RCDD, through which it had been planned to counsel patients.
At a later stage, RCDD also plans to train medical professionals and other doctors at the grassroots not only in the diagnosis of such hereditary diseases but also in the role of human genetics in medical practice.