GS Paper - 3 (Biotechnology)

The National Facility for Gene Function in Health and Disease (NFGFHD) was inaugurated in Pune by Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister of Education. The NFGFHD will be established at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune.

More about NFGFHD

  1. It has been funded by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT). It has dedicated space to house Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) animal labs, both for mice and rats.
  2. It will be a primary centre where transgenic (transfer of genes within animals, naturally or artificially using genetic engineering methods) animal models will be made in-house.
  3. Animal models of rats, mice and rabbits will be here. Otherwise, these are imported at huge costs, involve significant time to procure and often undergo strict import restrictions.
  4. In all, the NFGFHD houses 53 cleanrooms and 30 service or experiment rooms that will ensure preservation of these animal models in pathogen-free and temperature-controlled environments required for scientific and disease research.

Why it is needed

  1. With a growing zoonotic disease burden on human health, there is an increased urgency to perform disease studies based on physiological evidence and methods.
  2. Since human trials alone cannot suffice for such studies, the need for having experimental setups using animal models has become imperative.
  3. Hence, animal, plant and microorganism-based models are now being significantly deployed to study diseases in a time-bound manner. The most commonly used animal models are that of mice, rats and rabbits.
  4. The Pune-based NFGFHD aims at making such models in-house, thereby also cutting India’s dependence on imports and allied costs.