Science in Witness Box – Lalji Singh

By May 8, 2009videos page

The Talk

DNA fingerprinting, originally developed by Professor Alec Jeffreys of the Leicester University, UK, in 1985, is considered to be a major breakthrough in forensic science. Prof. Jeffreys patented the DNA probe he had developed from human genome for conducting the DNA fingerprinting test for forensic investigations and, therefore, it was not freely available to others. India developed its own  probe, and became the 3rd country in the world to do so, after UK and USA.

To break the common perception that Indian scientists are good at carrying out arm-chair research in air-conditioned laboratories but not so good at taking their findings to users, Dr Lalji Singh made it his mission to make his indigenous technology of DNA fingerprinting acceptable to Indian courts as evidence.

“Science in the Witness Box” is a delightful talk about the trials and tribulations of a scientist who had never ever entered a court room and was totally ignorant about court procedures, but was bent on making a new and sophisticated technology available to our judiciary and to the people of this country.

 PS : This talk has no video.

Lalji Singh, Dr

Dr Lalji Singh, a distinguished biologist, who developed the Indian DNA fingerprinting technology, is presently Director of the prestigious Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB), in Hyderabad. He obtained his M.Sc., and Ph.D (Cytogenetics) from Banaras Hindu University, and spent 13 years in the Institute of Animal Genetics, University of Edinburgh before joining CCMB in 1987.

His research interests include molecular basis of sex-determination; DNA fingerprinting and genetic diversity; wildlife conservation; human genome analysis and ancient DNA studies. In order to make his research contributions reach society, he actively proposed, pursued and established two separate institutions through the Government of India.

  • Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) in Hyderabad under the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) to explore the tremendous potential of the indigenously developed DNA fingerprinting technology
  • Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES) in Hyderabad in collaboration with the Central Zoo Authority of India, New Delhi; the Dept. of Forests, Govt. of A.P, Hyderabad; the Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology  (CCMB), Hyderabad and the Dept. of Biotechnology (DBT), New Delhi.

He has been elected Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Sciences, Indian National Science Academy, Andhra Pradesh Akademi of Sciences, National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, National Academy of Medical Sciences, and Third World Academy of Sciences, Trieste, Italy.

A member of several professional bodies, he is/has been on the Editorial Boards of various journals such as, Journal of Biosciences; Journal of Basic & Applied Biomedicine; Journal of Genetics; Journal of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology; International Journal of Human Genetics; Indian Journal of Biotechnology; and Proceedings of Andhra Pradesh Akademi of Sciences

Among his many awards and honours, are

  • INSA Young Scientist Medal (1974)
  • Ranbaxy Research Award (1994)
  • Shri Om Prakash Bhasin Award (1996)
  • Joy Govind Law Memorial Medal of The Asiatic Society, Calcutta (1997)
  • CSIR Technology Award (1992)
  • Honorary Professor, 1998: School of Animal Sciences, University of Hyderabad
  • Honorary D.Sc., degree: Purvanchal University (2000)
  • Visesha Puraskaaram: Dr Ramineni Foundation, USA; (2000)
  • Goyal Prize in Life Sciences (2000)
  • N Bahl Memorial Gold Medal for 2001
  • New Millennium Plaques of Honour Award 2001-2002 for outstanding services in the field of Biological Sciences presented by the Prime Minister of India at the 89th Session of the Indian Science Congress(2002)
  • Sixth Prof. S. P. Ray-Chaudhuri Memorial Lecture Award (2002)
  • Indian Society of Health Environment Education and Research (ISHEER) award (2002)
  • Poorvanchal Ratna’ Award by Veer Bahadur Singh Purvanchal University, Jaunpur (2003)
  • Honorary D.Sc. degree by Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth, Varanasi (2003)
  • Vigyan Gaurav Award of the Council of Science & Technology, Government of Uttar Pradesh (2003)
  • Biotechnologist of the Year of the Metro-Vision Media (2003)
  • FICCI Award 2002-03 for R&D in Life Sciences by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, New Delhi (2003)
  • Awarded PADMA SHRI by the President of India (2004)
  • Honorary D.Sc. degree by Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi (2004)
  • Intellectuals’ Honour – The Great Son of the Soil by the All India Conference of Intellectuals, Meerut (2004)
  • Swami Sukhdevanand Rishi Samman in the field of Genetics by Mumukshu Ashram Siksha Sankul, Shahjahanpur (2005)
  • ISWA Honorary Fellowship (2005)
  • Indian Science Writers’ Association (ISWA), New Delhi
  • Honorary D.Sc degree by Uttar Pradesh Rajarshi Tandon Open University, Allahabad (2006)
  • J C Bose National Fellowship awarded by Department of Science & Technology (2006-2011)
  • Honorary Professor, Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati (2006)
  • Dr L D Sanghvi Oration Award of the Indian Society of Human Genetics (2006)
  • Honorary D.Sc degree by Deendayal Upadhyay Gorakhpur University, Gorakhpur (2007)
  • Honorary D.Sc degree by MJP Rohilkhand University, Barielly (2007)
  • Rashtriya Ekta Samman 2007 by National Unity Conference, New Delhi
  • 8th Dharma Vira Oration 2008 by Sir Gangaram Hospital, New Delhi
  • CSIR Technology Award for Life Sciences – 2008

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