Indian Cobra Genome Sequenced

In News

A team of Indian researchers has sequenced the genome of highly venomous Indian Cobra. The efforts will go a long way in developing anti-venom medicines for snake bites.

In-Detail

  • Indian Cobra becomes the first of the four most venomous snakes of India, called the big four, to be genetically mapped.
  • Around 46,000 snakebite deaths every year in the country are due to the Indian cobra, the Common Krait, Russell’s viper and the saw-scaled viper.
  • While 5.4 million snakebite deaths occur in the world, 2.8 million of them occur in India.
  • They account for 4,00,000 disabilities globally, of which 1,38,000 are from India.
  • The research was conducted but scientists from the Chennai-based SciGenome Research Foundation (SGRF) in collaboration with scientists from US firm Genentech, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala and many from universities in the US and Singapore.

The Genome

  • Scientists have found that the Indian Cobra has 19 key toxin genes.
  • These are primarily expressed in the venom glands of the snake.
  • Scientists are of the view that targeting these toxins using antibodies will help develop a safe and effective anti-venom for treating cobra bites.
  • Also, they are of the view that if they could sequence the genes of the other three snakes and generate antibodies, it is possible to create a broad anti-venom for all the four snake bites.

Current Procedure

  • The current procedure for preparing anti-venom is over 100 years old and is outdated.
  • It involves immunising horses with extracted snake venom and then anti-venom is extracted.
  • This process is laborious and lacks consistency.
  • The efficacy of extracted anti-venom varies. 
  • With the sequencing of the Indian Cobra’s genome, using recombinant protein expression and synthetic antibody development technologies, modern anti-venom can be developed.
  • Venom essentially contains drug-like molecules. The Indian Cobra contains similar toxins that can reduce blood pressure, block pain and prevent blood clotting.
About Classic IAS Academy 445 Articles
Classic IAS Academy is at the forefront of providing best IAS coaching in delhi, India. The Academy helps the aspirants to tap their innate analytical power to become successful in the exam.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply