From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : PCR, Genome Sequencing, NGS
Mains level : Genome Sequencing Applications
- To speed up testing as well as improve the accuracy of testing COVID-19, the CSIR is working on developing “mega labs” where large machines, called Next Generation Sequencing machines (NGS), will be used for sequencing human genomes.
- It is repurposed to sequence 1,500-3,000 viral genomes at a go for detecting the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus.
Try this PYQ:
What is Cas9 protein that is often mentioned in news? (CSP 2018)
(a) A molecular scissors used in targeted gene editing
(b) A biosensor used in the accurate detection of pathogens in patients
(c) A gene that makes plants pest-resistant
(d) A herbicidal substance synthesized in genetically modified crops
What is NGS?
- DNA sequencing is the process of determining the nucleic acid sequence – the order of nucleotides in DNA.
- It includes any method or technology that is used to determine the order of the four bases: adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine.
- The advent of rapid DNA sequencing methods has greatly accelerated biological and medical research and discovery.
- Next-generation sequencing (NGS), also known as high-throughput sequencing, is the catch-all term used to describe a number of different modern sequencing technologies.
- These technologies allow for sequencing of DNA and RNA much more quickly and cheaply than the previously used Sanger sequencing, and as such revolutionized the study of genomics and molecular biology.
- The genome sequencing machines can substantially detect the possible presence of the virus even in several instances where the traditional RT-PCR tests miss out on them.
- This is primarily because the RT-PCR test identifies the SARS-CoV-2 virus by exploring only specific sections of the virus.
- Having an edge, the genome method can read a bigger chunk of the virus genome and thereby provide more certainty that the virus in question is indeed the particular coronavirus of interest.
- It can also trace the evolutionary history of the virus and track mutations more reliably.