Mukesh Ambani to foray into DNA testing: What is genome sequencing? How does it help?

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industry is planning to foray into the genome testing industry. RIL plans to roll out a Rs 12,000 kit for genome testing

Mukesh Ambani’s RIL’s genome testing kit

The kit will be developed by Strand Life Sciences. CEO of the company Ramesh Hariharan said that the pricing of the kit is cheaper than 86% of the local competitors, according to Bloomberg

Genome testing kit

Genome testing helps in tracing one’s ancestry, as well as determine a person’s predisposition to health disorders including cancer, neuro-degenerative ailments etc

What does genome
testing do?

There are companies that create only ancestry reports, and then there are ones that can create both ancestry and health reports. For instance, genome sequencing for health issues costs much more in India. However, Reliance aims to map a host of diseases that might not be detected in other tests

Ancestry tracing 

One can map their ancestry, check health issues and other traits such as propensity to obesity, type of hair, athleticism etc. However, preventive health care is anticipated to be the cash cow

What can you trace through genome sequencing?

While the Reliance kit is likely to do the genome sequencing through blood samples collected from home etc, there are other companies globally that do the same through saliva. DNA samples need to be sent to the lab that further processes the sample

How is genome
sequencing done?

If done well, Reliance’s test will potentially create a repository of biological data that can be used for drug development and disease prevention too

Biological data

While there are companies that do genome testing in India, it is not widely prevalent. In the US, there are companies such as 23andMe that trace ancestry and health issues. Reliance plans to market the product on the MyJio app, JioHealthHub, and Netmeds, the report added

Is genome testing
big in India?

There are companies like MapMyGenome and Medgenome that do similar work in India. Full genome sequencing health issues from these companies are not a cheap affair

Who does genome
testing in India?

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