Current Affairs

Status of Bioinformatics in India – Bioinformatics Opportunities

Status of Bioinformatics in India
Studies of International Data Corporation (IDC) points out that India will be a potential star in bioscience field in the coming years after considering the factors like bio-diversity, human resources, infrastructure facilities and government’s initiatives. According to IDC, bioscience includes pharma.
Bio-IT (bioinformatics), agriculture and R&D, IDC has been reported that llic pharmaceutical firms and research institutes in India are looking forward for cost-effective and high quality research development, and manufacturing of drugs with more speed.
This sector is the quickest growing field in the country. The vertical growth is because of the linkages between IT and biotechnology, spurred by the human genome project. The promising start-ups are already there in Bangalore. Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai. and Delhi. There are over 200 companies functioning in these places, IT majors such as Intel, IBM, Wipro are getting into this segment spurred by the promises in technological developments.
Government initiatives
Informatics is a very essential component in the biotech revolution. Ranging from reference to type culture collections or comparing gene sequences access to comprehensive up-to-date biological information, all are crucial in almost every aspects of biotechnology. India as a hub of scientific and academic research, was one of the first countries in the world to establish a nation wide bioinformatics network.
The department of biotechnology (DBT) initiated the program on bioinformatics way back in 1986- 87. The Biotechnology Information System Network (BTIS). a division of DBT has covered the entire country by connecting to the 57 key research centers. BTIS is providing an easy access to huge database to the scientists. Six national facilities on interactive graphics are dedicated to molecular modeling and other related areas. More than 100 databases on biotechnology have been developed. Two major databases namely coconut biotechnology databases and complete genome of white spota syndrome of shrimp has been released for public use. Several major international data bases for application to genomics and proteomics have been established in the form mirror sites under the National Jai Vigyan Mission.
The BTIS proposes to increase the bandwidth of existing network and provid: high-speed internet connectivity to continue with its present activities of training, education mirroring of public utility packages, consideration of R&D projects and support to different research activities in this field. The DBT is planning to set up a National Bioinformatics Institute as an apex body for the bioinformatics network in the country. The DBT also proposes to bolster a proper education in bioinformatics through publication of textbooks and monographs by reputed scientists in the field. Collaboration with the industry is also poised to increase in the coming years.
Opportunities
The past two years has seen many large multinational pharmaceutical companies acquiring other small companies and developing in the biosciences sector. IDC currently forecasts a compound growth rate (from 2001-02 to 2004-05) of about 10 percent in the spending on information Technology by bioscience organizations. Considering the local market is generally less mature than those in the US and Europe. IDC forecasts more aggressive growth beyond 2005. as many of the organizations attempt to play “catch-up”. Enterprise applications including dwarehousing knowledge management and storage are being pursued by these companies as priorities .

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