In collaboration with the Sri Lankan Twin Registry and King’s College, London we have established this modern genetic laboratory equipped with a fully automated gene sequencer. We will support and collaborate with those who wish to conduct their research within the country as opposed to exporting genetic material abroad. The lab will be available for genetic research work as well as other related work such as medical diagnostic and forensic services in Sri Lanka. Although the funding for the establishment of this project was originally for the twin based study of common mental disorders of the Sri Lankan Twin Registry, the infrastructure would be utilized for future development of the country.
The IRD biobank
The IRD biobank is a unique repository consisting of Genomic DNA and serum of twins (both monozygotes and dizygotes) and a matching comparison sample of non-twins in the developing world. To our knowledge this is the first of its kind biobank establishment in Sri Lanka.
It was established along with the Colombo Twin and Singleton Follow-up Study (CoTaSS 2). Ethical clearance for this purpose was obtained from the ethics committees of Sri Jayawardhanepura University and Kings College London.
Consent was obtained from twins and non-twins participating in the CoTaSS 2 to store their blood for future studies. However, the samples will not be used for any specific study without obtaining fresh ethical clearance for specific projects from relevant ethics committees.
The goal of the IRD biobank is to create a national repository of bio material of twins and higher order multiples. 3000 plus samples of extracted DNA and serum is being stored in a large -80 freezer, and this will continue to grow with future studies. Collected bio specimens will be used for cutting edge research which will give new insights into diseases burdening South Asia, leading to new methods of treatment and intervention in the future. Our plan is to establish capacity within the country to carry out these studies.
Whole blood for DNA extraction was collected from 2583 twins and 900 singletons during the Colombo Twin and Singleton Follow-up Study. The blood is stored in EDTA tubes at -80 degrees centigrade.
3483 samples of serum were collected from twins and singletons during the Colombo Twin and Singleton Follow-up Study. The serum is stored at -80 degrees centigrade, and will be used for future serological studies.
DNA extracted from whole blood and stored at -80 degrees centigrade,will be used for future genetic studies including GWAS and epigenetics.
Through the Colombo Twin and Singleton Follow-up Study (CoTaSS 2) genetic testing for zygosity determination will be used to validate a questionnaire on zygosity determination. This questionnaire was cross-culturally adapted and translated into Sinhala, and preliminary validation was done in the CoTaSS 1 study. Read the journal article.
Two projects on plant genetics which includes sex determination and DNA barcoding are in the planning and grant application phase.
Training courses for post A\L students, undergraduates, and professionals who wish to obtain hands on training related to molecular biology and genetics have been planned. These courses will be conducted by experts in the field and will consist of lectures and practical sessions.
Institute for Research & Development
No. 393/3, Lily Avenue,
Off Robert Gunawardane Mawatha,
Battaramulla 10120, Sri Lanka.