New genetic solutions to improve human health and agriculture

The Tata Institute for Genetics and Society (TIGS) team seeks to utilise the latest revolutionary advances in genetics to address the pertinent questions in biology that are relevant to India. As a relatively young centre, our current efforts focus on human health and agriculture, and conservation biology is an area we are exploring.

Our largest programme is on mosquitoes as vectors of diseases, such as malaria, dengue and chikungunya. We investigate mosquito biology and population ecology, and explore genetic strategies to either control their populations or their ability to transmit disease. In two collaborative efforts with Amrita University and JNCASR, we explore strategies to combat multi-drug resistant bacterial infections and develop haematopoietic stem cell therapies for monogenic diseases, such as sickle cell anaemia. In agriculture, we work with breeders in agricultural universities in India to enhance specific qualities of rice varieties that have been developed previously through traditional breeding methods.

TIGS-Centre at inStem (TIGS-CI) was launched in the summer of 2018 and is one of two such centres funded by the Tata Trusts. The other, TIGS-UCSD, is based out of University of California, San Diego. Both centres seek to harness emerging new developments in genetics to serve society and collaborate closely to implement the mission of TIGS. The current programmes of TIGS-CI, are summarised in the figure below.



Efficient allelic-drive in Drosophila. Guichard A, Haque T, Bobik M, Xu XS, Klanseck C, Kushwah RBS, Berni M, Kaduskar B, Gantz VM, Bier E. Nat Commun. 2019 Apr 9;10(1):1640. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-09694-w. PMID:30967548

A question of lineage. Sen S. Elife. 2019 May 7;8. pii: e47162. doi: 10.7554/eLife.47162. PMID: 31063134