Tata Institute for Genetics and Society - Tata Trusts

The Tata Institute for Genetics and Society (TIGS) is a non-profit institution focused on research training and capacity building of Indian scientists in the use of latest genetic technologies to address food and healthcare security in India. It aims to advance global innovative research in a socially conscious and ethical manner to find solutions to pressing issues ranging from public health to agriculture.

Operations within TIGS is accomplished via collaboration between the TIGS centre at the University of San Diego (TIGS-UCSD) and TIGS-India, which is based at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inSTEM) in Bengaluru, Karnataka. The work at TIGS, both at USCD and in India, is funded by Tata Trusts.

TIGS’ research aims to reduce the burden of mosquito vector-borne diseases by introducing and disseminating genes that prevent the transmission of pathogens to reduce human infections. Pioneering experiments conducted at TIGS-UCSD have demonstrated that the malaria vector mosquito can be genetically engineered using new genetic technologies such as gene editing and active genetics, to express genes targeted against the transmission of the malarial parasite – this effectively immunises the mosquito. This novel approach is at the frontier of medical research against the life-threatening disease. Active genetics ensures that this trait is inherited by the progeny.

The aim is to introduce this initiative in a phased approach to test the safety and efficacy of the strains as work progresses. If successful, this approach can be leveraged against other mosquito-borne disease agents like dengue, chikungunya and zika.

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