Hyderabad: The Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) located in Hyderabad's Uppal appointed Dr. K. Thangaraj as its new director on 11 August.

Following his appointment as the director of CDFD, Dr. Thangaraj said, “I am humbled and honoured to be chosen to lead a truly great institution. It will be my endeavor to take CDFD further to greater heights.”

CDFD is an autonomous organisation funded by the department of biotechnology under the Union ministry of science and technology. The institute was established in 1996 and provides services in the areas of DNA fingerprinting, diagnostic tests for human genetic disorders, and analysis of the purity of basmati rice.

Dr. Thangaraj was a scientist at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, since 1993. He was the president of the Indian Society of Human Genetics from 2011-2015 and the founder of the Society for Mitochondrial Research and Medicine. He has been awarded the J.C Bose Fellowship, Sun Pharma Research Award, Distinguished Scientist Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Awards.

He is known for his work and contributions in the field of population and medical genetics. His genetic studies have shown that the enigmatic tribal populations of Andaman and Nicobar islands are the first modern humans who migrated out of Africa through the southern coastal route about 65,000 years ago. This finding brought an end to speculations about the origin and migration of modern humans.

He also found that the present-day Indian population descended from two diverse groups and they have admixed during the past 2,000–4,000 years followed by strict endogamy. Hence, they are likely to have the population-specific recessive disease. He has also discovered certain deleterious genetic mutations that cause cardiovascular diseases, mitochondrial disorders, male infertility, and developmental sex disorders.

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