Synthetic Biology in India.

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• Three Indian scientists were part of the 24-member team that developed the first synthetic bacterial genome.-may 2010.The three researchers of Indian-origin were Sanjay Vashee, Radha anjay Vashee, Radha KrKrishnakumar and Prashanth P Parmar, who were part of the team led by Craig Venter.

Pawan K Dhar(Honorary Director of the newly-established Centre for Systems and Synthetic Biology of the Kerala University) - the next step in biology is to use molecule-to-phenotype data using these approaches and integrate them in the form a periodic table.

Prof. Guhan Jayaraman (of biochemical and bioprocess engineering at IIT Madras) - is worried that Indian scientific institutions are stuck in the slow lane.

The Centre for Systems and Synthetic biology the first one of its kind in the country, is planning to launch several innovative projects by the end of this year.

Bioinformatica Indica 08: International Symposium on Computational Biology, Bioinformatics and Synthetic Biology.

• The Kerala University works in collaboration with Riken Genomic Sciences Centre in Japan.

• In Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, India, the following projects are underway in Synthetic Biology: o Conversion of sugars (glucose and xylose) to ethanol by improved strains of yeast and Pichia stipitis o Conversion of sugars (glucose and xylose) to butanol by improved strains of Clostridium acetobutylicum o Scaled up production of recombinant gluycosidases, lipases and proteases. o Scaled production of secondary metabolites like valine, vitamin B12 and vanillin. Engineering algal strains to produce biomass and natural products.

Mr Vishwas Devaiah (Alternative Law Forum): The simplest solution, he argues would be for our universities and research institutions to come together on a common platform to create a repository based on open sharing of research information and patent tools. “Given that the government and the University Grants Commission have been gunning for an IPR committee as well as on increasing collaboration with foreign universities, we need to have a clear stance on technology sharing,” he added.

• Indian scientific community too could gather collective wisdom to formulate some regulation ‑ how to monitor and track the process to ensure that science is not abused? What are the most beneficial applications? Anyone designing a system with synthetic biology parts first need to obtain a license?

The Patents (Amendment) Act 2005 was ratified by the Indian Parliament in April, and is effective from January 1. This should serve as an impetus in promoting a new level of innovation in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries in India, transforming a reverse-engineering, price-driven mentality to a proprietary technology-driven mentality. Interestingly, Indias Ministry of Science and Technology, as part of their biotechnology strategy, proposed that all biotechnology industries be exempted from the requirements of compulsory licensing.