What is Genomics?
The study of an organism is based on the elements associated with genetics, which comprise human genes and chromosomes. Genomics is an interdisciplinary field of science that focuses on the evolution, mapping, structure, function and modifications of genomes. This genomics field researches DNA sequencing and implements bioinformatics to assemble, sequence, and analyse genomes.
There are various types of genomics, like structural genomics, which determine the structure fixed by the genome of every protein. Another type of genomics is functional genomics – this collects and uses data collected from sequencing for detailing the functions of proteins and genes. Comparative genomics, like the name suggests, looks to compare features between different species of genomes. Lastly, mutation genomics focuses on the studies of mutations in a person’s DNA or genome.
What will the future bring?
The science of genomics is exceptionally dynamic, competitive and opportunistic because the amount of research being done is constantly leading to advancements and developments to meet the constantly changing demand. Prominent industry players are investing heavily in the field to develop new products based on the trends that are being witnessed or will be witnessed over the next few years. Some of the trends that will help shape the field of genomics are given below:
· Keys to growth:
Increase in government funding, and number of genomics projects coupled with increasing areas of application, the entry of new start-ups and players in the space and decreasing sequencing costs will be critical to the growth of this field of study
· Cost of genomic equipment:
The costs are currently very high and need to be brought down for continued progress and market development. Technological advancement in research and material inputs will play a vital role in this objective.
· Genomic research plays a significant role in the future and will be a crucial element for creating progressive therapies. This is the main reason why many government agencies are focusing their financial efforts on genomics projects.
· Improvements in genome editing techniques: The age-old, tried and tested methods used today for genome testing are laborious and time-consuming and are slow to react to the rapidly changing dynamics of the field of genome modification. Enabling newer, faster, and more efficient genome techniques will go a long way in overcoming these shortcomings.
· New trends witnessed in sequencing techniques: Adopting new sequencing technologies are being encouraged by healthcare blue-chips to diversify patient and clinical healthcare by concentrating their energies on delivering efficient genomics.
· Newly developed technologies for gene-editing: By focusing on the detection of mutations below the surface of an organism or what is termed to be underlying, modern and state of the art technologies that are being developed for gene editing will go a long way in detecting, monitoring and even in some cases curing specific diseases.
· Alliances between corporates in the healthcare space and research institutes:
The year ahead can expect to see a rise or an increase in adoption and preference of modern medicine, state of the art editing and sequencing techniques, among many other advancements. None of this will be possible without the increase and the inflow of a large number of funds. This will see the rise in partnerships and collaborations between corporate entities and research institutes which will be instrumental in driving growth in genomics.
Leading the way:
In India, K&H has been leading the way in screening, genomics, and gene panel testing to determine various health conditions as patients’ physical and nutritional well-being. One of the few clinics in India that administers genetic tests in a highly advanced genomics lab customised to the profile and need of each patient. A team of in-house researchers does the genomics testing and screening at K&H in one of the few labs in India that are at par with the international guidelines.