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Genomic Quirks: The Search for Spelling Errors; One of a Kind Book on Genomics by Dr. Ramesh Hariharan


Press Trust of India BENGALURU
/ -- Genomic Quirks: The Search for Spelling Errors, a book authored by Dr. Ramesh Hariharan, CEO of Strand Life Sciences, was launched at Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru on 11th April 2019. The book shares real stories about instances of genomic spelling errors with serious consequences: infants passing away mysteriously, siblings with misplaced organs, several instances of vision loss in a family, hearts of sisters which failed in the prime of their youth, instance of a boy whose blood couldn't carry enough oxygen, a baby with eye cancer, middle-aged patient battling cancer and own colour blindness of the author. Each case proves to be a quest that connects the world of medical practice with that of molecular biology, powered by computer algorithms.
Dr. Rajani Battu, Medical Director, Centre for Eye Genetics and Research was quoted, "The book is a must read not only for medical students but for anyone who has an interest to understand genetics. Ramesh was one of the first person with whom I collaborated to do genetic analysis for some of my patients. He convinced me to critically review his book. But as I started to read the book, I was pleasantly surprised. This was not a monologue like any other genetic book. The book is filled with anecdotes which make it very interesting to read. The book simplified my understanding of Genetics. I would recommend this book, not only to the doctors and clinicians but even to high school graduates owing to its simplicity."

Speaking about his book, Dr. Ramesh said, "Five years ago we started working on using DNA sequencing at Strand to help patients who had some sort of genetic disorder to find the root cause. As we started doing this, we realised the complexity of the whole exercise. A lot of medical dilemmas that came about because the consequences of some of these studies are quiet serious involving life altering decisions. Adding to this is the fact that it was an emerging area where clinicians had limited awareness and the use of genomics in various medical aspects was slowly coming into practice. All of this led me to think that this was a story worth telling not just to the experts but to the broader audience. There are a number of books on genetics but this is not a traditional genetics book. This book is about taking a patient, sequencing their DNA and getting to the root cause. The diligence involved behind the entire process was the story never told. There is a variety of medical issues, the genomic cause of which one is trying to study. There are so many different types of things that can happen in a DNA. In order to get to the solution, there are so many different algorithms that are needed and illustrating all of those in a few broad strokes was the ultimate goal of the book. So we picked up 9 cases that I have penned in the book. The book focuses on the simplest of the starting point which is the area where you can pin things down to one single location in the DNA and that itself has a lot of complexities."

Ramesh's benchmark for the book was a high school student. According to him if the book can be understood by a high school student, it can be understood by anyone. He has tried to make the book less technical and as palatable as possible that makes it a delight to read.
About Strand Life Sciences

Strand Life Sciences is a global life sciences research and clinical diagnostics company, spun off from Indian Institute of Science by four faculty members in what might be the first instance of academic entrepreneurship in the country. Technology of Strand Life Sciences has enabled over 27000+ publications pushing the frontier of knowledge in the realm of Life Sciences. Strand Life Sciences pioneered the use of genomic diagnosis in India starting 2013 and is also the first CAP and NABL (ISO 15189) accredited Indian Laboratory for Genomics. The acquisition of Triesta Sciences' Oncology-focused clinical reference laboratory services from HCG has significantly expanded the reach of Strand Life Sciences in clinical diagnostics services in the country offering clinicians one of the most comprehensive menus of standard-of-care tests in the country spanning histology, biochemistry, microbiology, haematology, flow cytometry, cytogenetics, immunohistochemistry and molecular pathology. In December 2018, Strand Life Sciences acquired the Indian operations of Quest Diagnostics. Quest India's strong presence in the North complements Strand's Life Sciences solid foothold in the South and the West. These two acquisitions of 2018 will play a key role in enhancing the diagnostics footprint of Strand Life Sciences across the Indian subcontinent.

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First Published: Apr 30 2019 | 3:45 PM IST

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