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What is Project Manav?

Manav is a human atlas initiative towards improving knowledge on human physiology. It is a milestone project which has been launched by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Persistent Systems, a biotechnology company. This mega project aims to collate and integrate molecular information on human tissues and organs which currently remain in research articles in an unstructured and disorganised form.

The project would very useful for both students and scientists because it would utilise the large biological community for extracting and adding the information from scientific literature at the level of cells and organs. The information gathered in the project would eventually help researchers to identify the gaps in current knowledge and help in future projects in diagnostics and disease biology. It also will help scientists to understand the differential molecular factors which vary between diseased states along with the healthy state of an organ.

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It was the first time when Indian scientists have mapped every single tissue of the human body to know a deeper understanding of the roles of tissues and cells linked to various diseases.

The project Manav has being executed by the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and the National Center for Cell Sciences (NCCS) based in Pune. IISER is an autonomous institution. It is established by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. NCCS is an autonomous organisation and it is aided by the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology.

However, the Indian project, on the other hand, depends on the knowledge already available in scientific literature to derive information on the cellular network.

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Mission of the Project Manav

1. It aims to build the MANAV platform that would be a scalable, robust platform for annotation and curation of scientific literature.

2. It also aims to form a sustainable community with varied scientific skills that would collaborate, contribute and drive the Human Atlas initiative.

3. It aims towards the building a detailed map of human by systematic collation of available knowledge in scientific literature and public databases.

4. It aims towards the human resource development which trains and up-skills of scientific human resources by engaging colleges/institutes/research organisations across India and by exposure to diverse research and technology fields and trends.

5. It also aims towards the building blocks of Human atlas which becomes the creation of a comprehensive map of an organ system followed by other organ systems.

6. The initiative aims to help in creating a trained population of biologists. With the data curation and analysis skills imparted during this project, students will have better opportunities for jobs in the life science sector.

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The data methodology and technical platform developed during this project can also be extrapolated to do other science projects on biodiversity, ecology, environment etc. which may be relevant nationally or globally.

As per the above information, it is clear that the project MANAV is a public-private venture between DBT and Persistent Systems. The amount that has been invested by both the company is Rs 13 crore and Rs 7 crore respectively. DBT has invested funds shared between two institutions namely, NCCS and IISER, Pune. Besides, Persistent Systems Limited has co-funded the project and is developing the platform.

There is already a similar Human Cell Atlas project which was launched in the year 2016, is a collaborative effort between the world-leading scientists, to generate data pertaining to cellular and molecular activities of various cell types in the body in both its normal and disease state using techniques such as single-cell genomics.

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