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Advancements in the field of genomics have made it possible to design prevention and treatment strategies based on individual variability. Thanks to these advances, personalized medicine has become a reality for the developed world.
Unfortunately, for most countries of South Asia, personalized medicine is still just a dream and will remain a dream if we do not act NOW.
Even though South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka) is divided by geographical and political borders, we all share the same ancestors. We have been vastly under-represented when it comes to large scale genetic studies. Relatively less is known about the genetic defects underlying diseases affecting South Asian population as compared to any other developed country in the world. We have taken the first steps to set the stage for South Asia focused personalized genomics.
what has Genavli Biotech done so far?
Few months ago we partnered with Gencove and launched the YouGenomics India Project. USA residents of South Asian origin were invited to participate in a pilot study in an attempt to improve the ancestry estimates for South Asia. A large number of individuals from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka participated. This small pilot project gave us the ability to provide better ancestry estimates for the South Asian region. Many thanks to all our early adopters and the amazingly talented team at Gencove. Below is an example of our updated ancestry estimates. Previously we were able to predict ancestry only at the continent level, e.g. "South Asia". We can now go down to the sub-continent level and precisely split "South Asia" into three ancestral groups - “Central Indian subcontinent”, “Southern Indian subcontinent”, and “Bengal”. For sure there is a lot to be done but we have shown what can be achieved within a short period of time using the power of modern genetics and enthusiastic volunteers. Read more here.
There is still a long way to go but we have shown what can be achieved within a short period of time using the power of modern genetics. We will continue to improve on the reference genetic profile representing different ancestral groups of South Asia. This reference panel will form the basis of all further efforts to fine-map the genetic diversity of South Asia and lay the foundation for personalized medicine.