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BIOTECH FACILITY AND PROGRAMME SUPPORT


Keeping in view the prime objective of providing facilities for use by scientific community and institutions, the Department continued to promote establishment of national facilities and a number of programme support have been provided. Repositories have been established for conservation/preservation of living organisms including microbes both useful and harmful in agriculture, human health, animal husbandry and bioindustries.
Biotech Facilities

A number of facilities for production and supply of biologicals, reagents, culture collections, and experimental animals have been set up, which are available to scientists, industries and students at nominal costs. The facilities also conduct regular training programmes for capacity building in areas of instrumentation, handling of small animal houses, bioprocessing, microbial taxonomy and molecular biology. The following new facilities have been established:

NMR Facility at IICB, KOLKATA

Transgenic green house containment facilities one each at TNAU, Coimbatore and UAS, Bangalore

Drosophilla Stock Centre at University of Calcutta, Kolkata.

Biomedical Research Facility at Sanjay Gandhi Post-Graduate Institute, Lucknow.

A National Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Facility for Brain Research at the National 
  Brain  Research Centre Gurgaon.

New proteomics facilities are also being established at AIIMS and NCPGR, New Delhi.




International Depository Authority (IDA) at Institute of Microbial Technology(IMTECH), Chandigarh

The status as an International Depository Authority was notified by WIPO on October 4, 2002. At present, the facility has a collection of 10,000 microbes and more than 13500 cultures have been supplied to the academic and research institutes and the industry. The culture collection database is available at the website http://mtcc.imtech.res.in  and is updated at regular intervals. The MTCC holds 70 cultures for IDA deposit, 96 for filing national patents and 9 under safe  deposit. In addition to providing training to post graduate students in the area of microbial taxonomy, ecology, microbial diversity and environmental genomics, a workshop on Molecular Ecology of Biodegradation was conducted in December 2004. Research activities in microbial diversity are underway and new taxa are expected to be described.



Repository for Filarial Parasites and Reagents at MGIMS, Sevagram

Activities include maintenance of B. malayi filarial infection in rodents (mastomys and jirds) and isolation and storage of different stages of B. malayi, isolation of W.bancrofti micro filariae from field samples from different regions and storage; establishment of filariasis serum bank; isolation and purification of micro filarial antigens and anti filarial antigen antibodies, preparation of antigen and IgG antibody conjugates for diagnostics and immunomonitoring of filarial endemic areas; development of in vitro and in vivo screening systems for drug sensitivity and resistance to anti filarial drugs; studies on biochemical, immunochemical and molecular characterization and cryopreservation of filarial parasites.


National Facility for Marine Cyanobacteria at Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli

The objectives include survey of the entire coast line of India to understand the marine cyanobacterial biodiversity and establishment of a germplasm collection of marine cyanobacteria, that would preserve the biodiversity; basic and applied research for developing into commercial technologies in the area of feed, fertilizer, fuel, fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals and waste treatment; and understanding the molecular biology of some important strains that can be commercially exploited; and human resource development through training workshops and through national and international conferences at periodic intervals. Currently attempts are being made to identify the aquaporins (water transport proteins) for peroxide transportation in  Chroococcus turgidus for better bioremediation. The detoxification effect of marine cyanobacteria Oscillatoria willei and Synechococcus elongates was tested with the chlorinated pesticide endosulfan. Screening of methanolic extracts from 63 marine cyanobacterial isolates for anti- candidal activity was undertaken using disc agar-cylinder method.


Drosophilla Repository and Research Facility at IIT, Kanpur

The objectives of this facility is to sustain a large collection of Drosophila genetic stocks for wider distribution to genetic researchers. Attempts are underway to expand its current stock collection to include novel transgenic stock that are useful as tools for targeted gene expressions, generation of somatic clones etc. The facility was extensively upgraded by including eight stereomicroscopes and a facility for fly genetic transformation. The stock centre is using the fly model for exploring the genetic basis of tumor formation. The facility has also initiated large scale genomic screen of Drosophila using novel gene trap vectors and also created a novel repository of single transposon insertion line with specific genetic loci and identified novel tumor inducing mutations. Training activities are regularly undertaken. A website of the centre has also been launched.


Animal House Facility at NIN, Hyderabad

The National Centre for Laboratory Animal Sciences (NCLAS) was established with the prime objective of meeting the growing demand for high quality laboratory animals for biomedical research in the country. It provides knowledge base for laboratory animal science and technology, animal welfare and ethics and train resource personnel. The Centre also conducts basic research in the area to improve the existing laboratory animal stock and to develop new animal models.

Service activities like breeding and supply of animals, feed and blood products continued with sale proceeds of Rs 24.1 lakhs. 30,471 animals were bred and 26,157 animals supplied to both government research institutions and several pharmaceutical concerns. The Centre provides one of the best animal feeds prepared using natural ingredients along with synthetic minerals and vitamins. 22,349 kgs of animal feed was provided. The centre also provided 425 ml of blood, sera and plasma samples of laboratory animals to research and pharmaceutical concerns Eleven candidates were trained at the junior level course and five candidates were given adhoc training in the laboratory.

The research activities mainly focused on basic studies in obese mutant rats including their PCR based DNA fingerprinting, genetic typing by micro satellite markers etc. Studies on energy metabolism in WNIN obese rat mutants and nutrient intervention studies were also carried out.


Animal House Facilty at CDRI, Lucknow

The National Laboratory Animal Centre (NLAC) housed 15 different species of mice, rats, hamsters guinea pigs, rabbits, mastomys, gerbil, cotton rats and monkeys. Animals belonged to 26 different strains of 8 species of rodents, including 8 inbred strains of mice, 3 inbred strains of rat, 2 inbred strains of hamster, 2 strains of logomarphs and a strains of nude mice. The Centre also possesses SPF and complete germfree (gnotobiotic) rodent breeding nuclei and a facility for primate behaviour studies and primate breeding. NLAC also has a tissue culture unit where, human and animal cell lines are maintained and supplied. The objectives of the programme, include breeding and supply of genetically standardized, health monitored and nutritionally sound laboratory animals required by the Centre as well as other institutes/universities throughout the country. The Centre also enlarge breeding colonies of present stock and establish new special strains, develop animal stocks for experimentation, which can fulfill GLP standards, increase stock of SPF and gnotobiotic units. Human resource is built and consultancy services are provided.

A total of 27,186 animals were supplied to 55 institutions/universities and 13 pharma industries. Several hundred of cell lines/cell cultures were supplied to both in-house as well as to research institutions including industry. Training was provided to 19 indian scientists and 20 foreign scientists. New lines of animals strains maintained include; Inbred line of Swiss mice; inbred line of golden hamster; inbred line of SMA/CDRI mouse; newly established breeding system of Mongolian gerbil etc.


National Facility for Virus Diagnosis and Quality Control of Tissue Culture Raised Plants, IARI, New Delhi

A National Facility has been established as a multiinstitutional collaborative programme for testing of tissue culture raised plants for quality and freedom from viruses. The main goal is to ensure production of virusfree plants of assured quality raised through tissue culture with an objective to develop DNA based molecular markers for testing the uniformity of tissue culture (TC) raised plants; develop/procure diagnostic tools for virus testing; develop diagnostic kits; and test TC raised plants for viruses and quality.

R&D is focussed on standardizing markers for quality testing and diagnostic kits for virus detection of priority crops. Testing of planting material is done as per user requirements. Standard guidelines for quality assessment are being finalized and the certificate format is being issued in consultation with Ministry of Agriculture. Industry interaction is also being expanded to take up need based research and provide necessary services.


National Containment-cum-Quarantine Facility for Transgenic Planting Material at NBPGR, New Delhi

The objective of the facility is to process transgenic planting material from quarantine aspects; train human resource in biosafety considerations for evaluation for transgenic crops and develop molecular probe/markers for detection of transgenes. More than 200 samples of various transgenic crops such as chickpea, cotton, maize, rice, Brassica juncea, tobaco received from 7 different countries have been tested for quarantine and detection of various transgenes/ promoters/ terminators/markers gene using specific primers/probes. The facility is also being used by other institutes for testing their transgenic planting material. NBPGR also has the  responsibility to issue the import permit and the material is received for quarantine/molecular testing before it is released to the indentors.


Center for Genetic Engineering and Strain Manipulation, MKU, Madurai

The Centre provides facility for manipulation of bacterial genomes with a focus on strain improvement. The metabolic events targeted for improvement include enzyme production and secondary metabolic production. Process engineering of a mutant S.peucetius that converts all the intermediates efficiently has been completed. The two-component regulation of Chitinase gene expression in S.peucetius has been confirmed by DNA sequence analysis and efforts are being made to increase chitinase production by manipulating the two component system. A mutant of chiS gene had been constructed showing 80fold increase in chitinase activity. Efforts are being made to standardize and optimize conditions for the analysis of total proteome of streptomyces. Using MALDI TOF, transposon mediated global mutagenesis of antibiotic producing streptomyces is being developed to identify the proteins involved in antibiotic biosynthesis. Analysis of virulence of M. leprae is being done. Collaborative projects with Amritanjan Ltd for production of therapeutic proteins and with Unilever Industries Pvt Ltd on response to UV in skin tissue have also been undertaken. The facility is being used by local researchers in terms of equipment support.


National Facility for Stable Isotope Discrimination Studies at University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore

The facility jointly with the Department of Science and Technology is supporting studies on quantification of WUE (water utilization efficiency) using the IRMS (Isotope Radio Mass Spectrometer) and molecular markers for assistance in plant breeding programmes on drought tolerance. The state-of-the-art Isotope Radio Mass Spectrometer with all the elemental analysers, the first of its kind in India for high throughout analysis of stable isotope radios in biological systems, has been used to screen several genotypes and doubled haploid lines of rice for the genetic variability in WUE and the associated physiological traits by gravimetric and carbon isotope discrimination approach. The RAPD profiles and the genetic distance worked out from the resultant dendrograms, revealed three major clusters with one having three sub-clusters of genotypes. Likely markers tightly linked to the physiological traits associated with WUE are developed after screening the constrasting genotypes and DHLs of rice with a large number of RAPD primers. Biochemical and gas exchange approach will be adopted to confirm the superior mesophyll efficiency identified based on the isotope approach.


FACS Facility, CCMB, Hyderabad

The facility jointly supported by the Department with CSIR & DST has supported development of new technologies in diverse areas of biotechnology such as molecular cytogenetics, stem cell research, agricultural biotechnology and design, screening and discovering anti-cancer drugs. The facility had been launched in October 2002 and is being extensively used by institutions and scientists.


DNA Sequencing Facility, UDSC, New Delhi

In the 2nd phase a new service of sequencing complete genes (3-4 kb long) by primer walking was introduced. The facility developed new order form for each service and detailed instruction manual has been prepared for sending samples.

A total of approximately 1413 sequencing reactions and 67 gene-sequencing by primer walking have been performed. Currently, there are 180 user scientists from various institutions around the country.


NMR Facilities at TIFR, Mumbai and IISc., Bangalore

Two facilities of NMR 700 MHz NMR and 600 MHz NMR one each for TIFR, Mumbai and IISc., Bangalore were developed jointly with DST. Both the facilities have become operational. Various research activities and services are being undertaken at the facility.


Biomedical Research Facility at SGPGI, Lucknow

The support to the facility has been extended with an aim to strengthen research infrastructure at SGPGI for promoting basic medical biotechnology and to launch research and technology development in the identified thrust areas with clear application potential. The research and service components will be commissioned during the year 2005-2006.


NMR facility at IICB, Kolkata

This facility has been approved during the year 2004,which will be helpful for biomolecular studies and structure biology for North-Eastern region of the country. The project being funded jointly with CSIR, would be operationalize during the year 2005-2006.


Transgenic Containment Greenhouse Facilities at TNAU, Coimbatore and UAS, Bangalore.

The facilities which will support research and maintenance of indigenously developed transgenic plants as per biosafety regulations of EPA Act 1996, shall become operational during the year 2005-2006.


National Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Facility for Brain Research, National Brain Research Centre, Manesar

The national facility for brain MRI including fMRI which would be used for research by neuroscientist from all over the country. NBRC has already formed a national network with 42 institutions with a goal of sharing resources by creating centralized facilities to be used by the interested investigators. The fMRI facility would help understand brain function in healthy and disease states.