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Updated 21st April 2008
Name : LALJI SINGH Father’s Name : Sri Surya Narain Singh
Date of Birth : 5th July 1947
Place of Birth : Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Current Position & : DIRECTOR, CCMB, Hyderabad
Present : Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology
Hyderabad 500 007 (A.P.)
Permanent : Village: Kalwari, Post Office: Sikrara,
District: Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Educational Qualifications :
B.Sc. with Zoology, Botany and Chemistry, (1964),
M.Sc. in Zoology with thesis in Cytogenetics (1966)
Ph.D in Cytogenetics, 1971, Banaras Hindu University
(Thesis: Evolution of Karyotypes in Snakes)
1. Molecular Basis of Sex-determination
2. DNA Fingerprinting
3. Wildlife Conservation
Human Genome Analysis
5. Human Genetic Diversity
Dr Lalji Singh has more than 150 research papers published in internationally reputed journals.
Please see Annexure ‘D’ for complete list of Publications
Social Impact of some of the research work carried out by
Dr Lalji Singh
1. Development of a universal probe for DNA Fingerprinting:
Dr Lalji Singh and his colleagues at the Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB) developed a probe called Bkm-derived probe for DNA fingerprinting as a fallout of their earlier internationally well-known work on the mechanisms of the determination of sex. Their probe is being extensively used for forensic investigation, paternity determination and seed stock verification. DNA fingerprinting evidence was presented in the court and for the first time in the annals of the history of Indian Judiciary DNA fingerprinting was accepted as an infallible evidence in the court of law; this verdict was upheld by the Kerala High Court. Since then, they have used this indigenous technique in 500 cases such as paternity disputes, identification of missing children identification of mutilated bodies, exchange of babies in maternity wards and cases of rape and murder, etc. These include sensational cases of assassination of the late Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi, assassination of Punjab Chief Minister and the famous tandoor case of Naina Sahni.
DNA Fingerprinting technology has reached to common man all over India and is providing them a justice which otherwise would not have been possible for them to obtain.
Based on Dr Singh’s above findings a separate autonomous “Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics” has been set up by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.
2. Conservation of wildlife Although our country is endowed with a tremendous wealth of megadiversity in plant and animal wildlife, their very existence is at stake owing to destruction of forests following industrialization, agricultural activities as well as poaching of wildlife for reasons of sports and money. There was therefore an urgent need to arrest this phenomena and work out strategies to tackle these problems by using innovative techniques. CCMB is, therefore, setting up a laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES) at Attapur village near Nehru Zoological Park. The potential utility of molecular techniques in the study of evolutionary relationships of plants and animals is already established. Dr Lalji Singh is presently using this technique for wild life preservation and better management of endangered species in our zoos and also for identification and isolation of genes for useful characters in silkworm races.
3. Species identification for forensic applications Crimes related to the killing of animals are a serious threat in India. In such a case, we need to establish whether a drop of blood, or tiny piece of meat, bunch of hair or some other mutilated biological sample confiscated by the wildlife curators and/or investigating agencies belongs to human or animal, and if animal, to which species of animal. Such investigations have become very important in recent past with our increased awareness towards threats of extinction of many animal species due to human intervention. The law enforcement requires strong evidences in such matters which could be provided by establishing exact identity of confiscated animal(s) or parts and products thereof. The team of researchers headed by Dr Lalji Singh from the CCMB has recently developed, for the first time anywhere in the world, a novel DNA based approach which, without knowing the history of a forensic sample, is able to establish whether a drop of blood or tiny piece of meat belongs to human or animal, and if animal, to which species of the animal. CCMB has already using this approach in providing the service to the society and has resolved more than 50 cases forwarded by various wildlife curators and crime investigation agencies.
4. DNA based molecular Diagnostics There are several genetic disorders prevalent in our country. The problem has become much more serious because there are no adequate facilities for diagnosing these disorders. Dr Lalji Singh and his group have set up diagnostic services for many genetic disorders such as sickle cell anemia, Alzheimer’s disease, BCD, male infertility, pancreatitis, Robert’s syndrome, etc. Research by Dr Lalji Singh and his colleagues further helped in better understanding of the role played by genetic factors in these diseases and the possibility of developing better diagnostic tools for the detection and the management of such diseases. These services will be of tremendous help to common man in reducing their agonies whenever therapeutic intervention is possible.
5. Genetic affinities of Andaman Islanders Dr Lalji Singh and his group have undertaken the study on genetic diversity in primitive tribes of India including the tribal populations of Andaman and Nicobar Islands using Y-chromosomal markers and mtDNA sequences. Data indicates that the Andamanese have closer affinities to Asian than to African population and suggests that they are the descendants of the early Paleolithic colonizers of Southeast Asia – the hunter gatherers and the first migrants moved out of Africa about 60,000-100,000 years ago. These findings have revolutionized the ways of thinking about the origin of man in terms of their evolution and migration from place to place.
6. Genome Foundation and its activities
Human disease and suffering are as old as humanity and genetic disorders are most distressing since there is no cure available for them and the diseases get transmitted across the generations. The problem of genetic disorders in India is enormous. Indians are also genetically susceptible to common diseases, such as, diabetes and heart diseases. Thus, prevention of disability is the only option for these disorders. However, the diagnostic services for them are mostly focused to cater the urban India.
A group of intellectuals with high professional integrity have come together to establish this Foundation under Dr Lalji Singh as its Managing Director, which will provide such diagnostic services to both rural and urban populations of the country. The Foundation will function with people’s participation and utilize the voluntary services of retired scientists and professionals. The Foundation will establish various centres across the length and breadth of India to take these services to the masses through networking with various NGOs and socially committed organizations. The Foundation is already registered under Section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956. A Foundation stone was laid recently by Dr Lalji Singh for a building complex for “Establishing a Rural Centre of Genome Foundation in Northern India” in Jaunpur, UP, India.
Annexures: A. Honours, Awards and Endowment Lectures