Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

Genome Mapping of the Indian Ocean


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Genome Mapping

Mains level: India's deep ocean mission

A team of scientists and researchers from the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) onboard its research vessel Sindhu Sadhana will work on a research project to reveal the internal working of the body of the ocean at a cellular level.

Genome Mapping of the Indian Ocean

  • The first-of-its-kind research project in the country is aimed at understanding the biochemistry and the response of the ocean to climate change, nutrient stress and increasing pollution.
  • The researchers will collect samples from various stretches of the ocean at an average depth of about 5 km.
  • Just like gene mapping is carried out on blood samples collected from humans, the scientists will map these in the bacteria, microbes found in the ocean.
  • The mapping of the Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and Ribonucleic acid (RNA) will show the nutrients present in them, and also those lacking in different parts of the ocean.

Objectives of the mission

  • This project will help scientists understand the internal working of the ecosystem of the Indian Ocean.
  • The research will enable scientists to identify the factors controlling the changes in RNA, DNA in the oceans, and various stressors impacting them.
  • The ocean has several micronutrients like nitrates, sulphates and silicates, minerals like iron ore and zinc, and trace metals like cadmium or copper.
  • The genome mapping will show the presence of which these microbes have adapted to, in addition to their reaction to atmospheric carbon dioxide.
  • This will help in identifying which part of the ocean has a greater concentration of which mineral or element.
  • Scientists will then use these as tracers to tackle the causative factors for excess or lack of a certain mineral or element and suggest possible solutions for their mitigation.
  • In addition, the large pool of RNA, DNA library of the oceans will be utilized for using the Indian Ocean for human benefit in the future.

Studying the interactions of trace metals

  • Trace metals are the metals subset of trace elements; that is, metals normally present in small but measurable amounts in animal and plant cells.
  • Trace metals like cadmium or copper are supplied to oceans via continental run-offs, atmospheric deposition, hydrothermal activities and continental shelf interaction.
  • They are essential for ocean productivity for having a holistic understanding of nutrient cycling and productivity of the oceans.
  • Isotopic forms of trace metals can be utilized to track the movement of water masses responsible for ocean circulation and as tools to study the biological, geochemical and ecosystem processes and food web analyses.

Also read

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch