Recently, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) launched ‘MANAV: Human Atlas Initiative’. It is a project for mapping every tissue of the human body to help understand better the roles of tissues and cells linked to various diseases.

What it covers
The comprehensive map of the human body including every body tissue will be created from all available scientific literature.

The aim of the project is to understand and capture human physiology in two stages — normal stage and disease stage.

DBT has invested Rs 13 crore on behalf of two institutions: National Centre for Cell Science and Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research. Both the institutions are located in Pune. Private company, Persistent Systems Ltd has co-funded the project with Rs 7 crore.

How the project will be carried out?
Students of the final year in selected disciplines will be trained in annotation and curation of the information that will form the online network. The MANAV team has encouraged colleges and universities to register as teams.

Once students are registered, student groups will be assigned research papers, and trained in annotation and curation using specialised tools.

What is the importance of project?
The organized data will be helpful for future researchers and clinicians and drug developers. The project will also impart key skills to the student community in reading scientific literature, analyzing individual tissues and perform annotation and curation.

Such a database will come in handy in tracing causes of a disease, understanding specific pathways and ultimately decoding how the body’s disease stage is linked to tissues and cells.