Karachi: Prof Dr M Iqbal Choudhary, Director International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), Karachi University, disclosed on Thursday that former chairman, Higher Education Commission Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rehman is the first Pakistani whose genome has been mapped by Pakistani scientists at a cost of US$40,000 in just 10 months.
While addressing a press conference at Dr Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine & Drug Research (PCMD), he stated that China had contributed US$20,000 in the total cost of the genome project. Pakistani and Indian genomes have similarities compared to others.
Dr Iqbal Choudhary said that the success of our scientists on this genome project was in fact a national pride for us; they have acquired remarkable scientific achievement at a time when Pakistan is passing through a terrible time in its history.
With this historical achievement, Pakistan has taken a step forward in the genome world and joined the ranks of the few countries – the US, UK, China, Japan and India – which have successfully sequenced the human genome, he said, added that, Pakistan, however, is not new in this genome world as we have already sequenced DNA of mangoes and other fruits.
“Dr Atta has become the first Muslim man with this distinction, while he is the third one among a list of renowned people in the world whose genomes have been mapped by scientists. The names of the first two persons are Prof Watson and Dr Ventor (2007), while others are unnamed.
Pakistan has become the sixth country, working on the genome projects after US, UK, China, Japan and India.
We need advanced equipments to further gain progress in this unique field; an institute of Genome will also be setup in the country soon. Millions of pages are required to write the details of genome and that the genome of the first American was mapped at a cost of US$6 billion, across a ten year period,” he said.
It is pertinent to mention here that the research team, who mapped the genome, comprised of Dr Kamran Azim, Assistant Professor in the Dr Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research and Dr Yong Zhang, head of the genomics department at the Beijing Genomics Institute, Shenzhen, China, one of the leading authorities in genomics.