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Genome Sequencing And Its Growing Importance In The Present Healthcare Scenario

Genome Sequencing And Its Growing Importance In The Present Healthcare Scenario
Genome sequencing is important and is essential for disease anticipation and prevention.

Genome sequencing is something that you may have heard about but not really understood. Our expert reveals its relevance, importance, benefits and more.

Written by Editorial Team |Updated : September 17, 2021 12:13 PM IST

Genome sequencing is the process of identifying the complete DNA sequence of an organism's genome. This includes chromosomal DNA, DNA in mitochondria as well as DNA in the chloroplast for plants. Its importance cannot be undermined, and it is all set to take personalised medicine to a whole new level. The Human Genome Project (HGP) that was launched in the year 1990 flung open the doors of what many predicted would be 'Biology's century'. Since then, the corpus of information has grown from some error-filled genome sequences to a complete account of the genetic variation of lakhs of individuals around the world, and an increasing number of tools and technologies to study it.

Importance of genome sequencing

The primary purpose of sequencing the human genome is to figure out the order of DNA nucleotides, or bases, in the genome the order of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts that make up an organism's DNA. Its importance in the modern world cannot be undermined.

  • It can provide information on genetic variants that can increase the risk of disease development.
  • It helps understand a person's susceptibility or resistance to several diseases and disorders including cardiac and neural conditions.
  • It has been used to precisely diagnose the health condition, effectively manage symptoms and customise the treatment.

The many benefits

Genome sequencing is important and is essential for disease anticipation and prevention. In the near future, we will see more people obtaining their own whole-genome sequence. Let us look at a few benefits.

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  • It offers opportunities to assess predisposition to disease, prompting more focused monitoring and lifestyle changes if needed.
  • It helps people understand their illness better and will spare some expensive treatments and complex procedures.
  • Sequencing of the genome will also help doctors in deciding treatment strategies by classifying tumours according to their drug sensitivities and mutations.
  • This technology will enable non-invasive tumour detection and monitoring treatment.

The science and medicine communities around the world are just starting to seize the transformative opportunities that genome sequencing offers. With further investment in infrastructure and technology required for sequencing, the healthcare sector will be transformed completely. Higher precision offered by genome sequencing in disease identification reduces health costs and adverse reactions from unnecessary treatments. The sequencing technology will also have a major impact on the national economy, not only by reducing errored treatments, decreasing costs of treating diseases but also by creating new industries of valuable medical information.

Cost and scope

The cost of sequencing the genome has dropped from USD 2.7 billion in 2003 to USD 1500 in 2018. Additionally, many people are using Direct-to-Consumer genetic tests to analyze certain genome regions at a cost of less than USD 100. The scope of genome sequencing is growing with the reducing costs and increasing accessibility. The ever-increasing capacity for accurate sequencing is also leading to the development of effective and targeted treatment strategies.

(This article is authored by Subhamoy Dastidar, Co-Founder & Director, Lilac Insights)

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