Brain Booster for UPSC & State PCS Examination (Topic: Mapping of Genomes in Indian Ocean)

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Topic: Mapping of Genomes in Indian Ocean

Mapping of Genomes in Indian Ocean

Why in News?

  • The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Institute of Oceanography (CSIR-NIO), Goa, has initiated a project for mapping the genetic diversity of organisms and the effect of micronutrients and trace metals on them in the Indian Ocean supported by the CSIR, under one of its flagship projects TraceBioMe.

About the Project

  • A 90-day long expedition onboard research vessel RV Sindhu Sadhana with 30 scientists took off from Visakhapatnam and will be completed in two-legs till the end of May, covering over 9,000 nautical miles, and ending in Goa.
  • The researchers will collect samples from various stretches of the ocean at an average depth of about 5 km.
  • Like gene mapping is carried out on blood samples collected from humans, the scientists will map these in the bacteria, microbes found in the ocean.
  • The mapping of the Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and Ribonucleic acid (RNA) will show the nutrients present in them, and also those lacking in different parts of the ocean.

Objective of Study

  • To understand the biochemistry and the response of the ocean to climate change, nutrient stress and increasing pollution.
  • Trace metals like cadmium or copper are supplied to oceans via continental run-offs, atmospheric deposition, hydrothermal activities and continental shelf interaction. They are essential for ocean productivity.
  • It is important to understand the interactions of trace metals with marine biota for having a holistic understanding about nutrient cycling and productivity of the oceans.
  • Apart from their reactions on marine life, isotopic forms of trace metals can be utilised to track the movement of water masses responsible for ocean circulation and as tools to study the biological, geochemical and ecosystem processes and food web analyses.
  • It is expected to generate new information about trace metals from underexplored regions of the Indian Ocean.

What is Genome?

  • It is an entire set of DNA (or RNA in RNA viruses) of an organism. In other words, genome is an organism's complete set of genetic instructions.
  • Each genome consists of the information required to build that organism and allow it to grow and develop.


  • It will help scientists understand the internal working of the ecosystem of the Indian Ocean.
  • It will enable scientists to identify the factors controlling the changes in RNA, DNA in the oceans, and various stressors impacting them.
  • The ocean has several micronutrients like nitrates, sulphates and silicates, minerals like iron ore and zinc, and trace metals like cadmium or copper.
  • The genome mapping will show the presence of which these microbes have adapted to, in addition to their reaction to atmospheric carbon dioxide. This will help in identifying which part of the ocean has a greater concentration of which mineral or element.
  • These will be used as tracers to tackle the causative factors for excess or lack of a certain mineral or element and suggest possible solutions for their mitigation.
  • It will develop the large pool of RNA, DNA library of the oceans and will be utilised for using the Indian Ocean to human benefit in the future.

About National Institute of Oceanography

  • It was established on 1 January, 1966 following the International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE) in the 1960s.
  • The main focus of research is to observe and understand the special oceanographic characteristics of the Indian Ocean.