BANGALORE, 9 NOVEMBER 2009 - Reliance Life Sciences (RLS) develops business opportunities in the domains of medical, plant and industrial biotechnology. But with new research happening every day it was getting hard for biologists to keep track of genome sequences like evolutionary history of organisms, their biological function, and their chemical structure, etcetera.
-- The database allows researchers to share data.
-- Within few weeks of launch, R-Genomics on the Internet received close to 3,000 hits from all over the world.
So, Gopal Rangaraj, VP-IT, Reliance Life Sciences, created a platform that would allow research entities to collaborate. He decided to do this by launching the R-Genomics database to facilitate research into Jatropha (a crop used for bio-fuel). This would also serve as a knowledge repository for future research. "I conceived R-Genomics as a comprehensive database to store, search and retrieve information about genome sequences of the Jatropha plant for the Plant Metabolic Engineering group," says Rangaraj.
R-Genomics does this by storing information on unique expressed sequence tags (EST), in the form of a searchable database. The database allows researchers to share data. The solution would also include the integration of different environments - Internet, Intranet and console services.
But the project wasn't devoid of challenges. "We had to incorporate features in the software to address the fast changing requirements of an emerging research area. The architecture had to be flexible to accommodate changes," says Rangaraj.
Rangaraj's efforts paid back handsomely. Within few weeks of launch, R-Genomics on the Internet received close to 3,000 hits from all over the world.
"The benefits of an application such as R-Genomics go beyond financial measures such as ROI, primarily because investments on development and deployment of R-Genomics were not significant in comparison to its utility to the research community," he says. This initiative presents many partnership opportunities for the research group and the company to partner with Indian and international research agencies and organizations to collaborate and share information related to genomics and molecular breeding. It helps also identify genes responsible for specific traits and crop improvement thereby enabling increased production.
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