India’s DBT-NIBMG Creates World’s first Genomic Variants Database of Oral Cancer

genomic variations in oral cancer

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) of the Union Ministry of Science and Technology and National Institute of Biomedical Genomics (NIBMG), an autonomous institute funded by the Department of Biotechnology of the Government of India has created a database of genomic variations in oral cancer — the first-of-its-kind in the world. NIBMG has made this database publicly accessible.


dbGENVOC is a browsable online database of GENomic variants of oral cancer and is a free resource. First release of dbGENVOC contains ~24 million (2.4 crores) somatic and germline variants derived from whole-exome sequences of 100 Indian oral cancer patients and whole genome sequences of five oral cancer patients from India, (ii) somatic variation data from 220 patient samples drawn from the US and analyzed by TCGA-HNSCC project and (iii) manually curated variation data of 118 patients from recently published peer-reviewed publications. Variants were identified by the community approved best practice protocol and annotated using multiple analytic pipeline.

dbGENVOC is not just a catalogue of genomic variants, it has a built-in powerful search engine. It also allows a reasonable extent of statistical and bioinformatic analysis to be carried out online, including identifying variants in associated altered pathways in oral cancer.

Also read: World Health Day: Myths and facts about oral cancer


The repository, which will be updated annually with variation data from new oral cancer patients from different regions of India and Southeast Asia have the potential to support advances in oral cancer research and will be a major step in moving forward from simply cataloguing variants to gain insight into their significance.

Oral cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer among men in India, largely fuelled by tobacco-chewing. Tobacco-chewing causes changes in the genetic material of cells in the oral cavity. These changes (mutations) precipitate oral cancer. Research to identify those genetic mutations that drive oral cancer are ongoing. Such driver mutations may be variable across populations

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