BENGALURU: Are you a 100% Indian? The question may draw a very emotional and even jingoistic response. However, the genomic mapping of the country tells a totally different story, thanks to waves of migrations, conquests and inter-
mingling of tribes and races.
This area of study was widely neglected due to lack of interest and absence of technology. However, now Xcode Life Sciences, a personal genomics start up based in Chennai, has come up with a first of its kind test in the country called Ancestry Genetic Test, which uses saliva to trace our lineage.
A day before its official launch, Xcode founder Dr Saleem Mohammed and Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Dr Abdur Rub spoke about genomics and how much of an Indian we actually are.
Regarding the test Dr Saleem said, "After a month-long product testing we did have a good reception and with all the subsequent modifications, we have decided to launch the ancestory service to help people know what composition they carry. “
Explaining the concept Dr Abdur said, “It is for those who want to understand their heritage and the test helps us testify that our gene has been
travelling. You are your three billion years of organic history and that is what we are looking to uncover."
Currently they have a database of 5,000 individuals from the global population and close to 500 from India. “In India the representative population is Telugu, Tamil, Punjabi, Brahmins from Tamil Nadu, Burmese it is a mix," said Saleem.
Genetic testing was also responsible for finding out that close to 10 million men are direct descendants of the Mongol warrior Genghis Khan. In the West, genetic testing is extremely common as individuals are curious about the genetic makeup, Saleem added.
Dr Abdur said our unique heritage, unique history, the history of our ancestors, is living within each of us. “You may be 20, 30 or 50 years old, but your genes are 3 billion years old. For the first time in human history, genetic technology makes it possible to uncover this unique past that each of us carry within us.”
“I am very excited that Xcode is launching world’s first ‘South Asian Ancestry Genetic Test’ through which your DNA is matched with more than 35 ethnic groups in India and other groups worldwide, and your most recent paternal ancestor," he added.