5th July – Birth Anniversary of Lalji Singh

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  • Lalji Singh was an Indian scientist who worked in the field of DNA fingerprinting technology in India, where he was popularly known as the “Father of Indian DNA fingerprinting.”
  • Lalji earned a PhD from the Banaras Hindu University in 1971, studying the chromosomal differences between male and female snakes.
  • He went on to identify a region of DNA that has repetitive sequences of GATA, the alphabets that make up DNA.
  • In 1971–72, Singh worked as a research associate at the Department of Zoology, University of Calcutta and in April 1974, he was appointed as pool officer of CSIR.
  • In 1974, Singh received the Commonwealth Fellowship to carry out research at the University of Edinburgh, UK, where he worked until 1987.
  • Lalji identified highly conserved repeated DNA sequences in the banded krait and other vertebrates, which they named the “Banded Krait Minor” (Bkm) sequences in 1980.
  • In June 1987, Singh returned to India and joined the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad, as a senior scientist.
  • Singh developed and established DNA fingerprinting technology for forensic investigation of crime and civil disputes.
  • Singh was one of the leaders’ instrumental in making DNA fingerprinting mainstream in India, both at the level of research as well as for forensic applications.
  • Based on his work he was tasked by the government,to establish the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) with a mandate of making it a nodal centre for DNA fingerprinting.
  • Singh served as a director at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad from 1998 to 2009.
  • He went on to become Vice Chancellor of the Banaras Hindu University (2001 – 2014), his alma mater.