×

UPSC Courses

DNA banner

DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

Monthly DNA

13 Oct, 2020

6 Min Read

Paper Topics Subject
PT Pointer Nobel Prizes 2020 S&T
Nobel Prizes 2020

GS-III : S&T R&D

Nobel Prizes 2020

3 scientists share Prize in Physiology or Medicine: Americans Harvey J Alter and Charles M Rice, and British scientist Michael Houghton have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology for the discovery of the hepatitis C virus.

Their Contributions:

  • The trio’s work helped explain a major source of blood-borne hepatitis that couldn’t be explained by the hepatitis A and B viruses.
  • Their discovery has essentially eliminated post-transfusion hepatitis in many parts of the world.
  • Their discovery also allowed the rapid development of antiviral drugs directed at hepatitis C.

Basics:

What is Hepatitis C?

  • It is a liver disease. Caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV): the virus can cause both acute and chronic hepatitis. Hepatitis C is a major cause of liver cancer.

How is it caused and Spread?

  • The hepatitis C virus is a bloodborne virus: the most common modes of infection are through exposure to small quantities of blood.
  • Treatment: Antiviral medicines can cure more than 95% of persons with hepatitis C infection, thereby reducing the risk of death from cirrhosis and liver cancer, but access to diagnosis and treatment is low.
  • There is currently no effective vaccine against hepatitis C; however, research in this area is ongoing.

Types of Hepatitis Viruses:

  • There are 5 main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E.
  • Hepatitis A and E are typically caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water
  • Hepatitis B, C and D usually occur as a result of parenteral contact with infected body fluids. About

Nobel Prize in Medicine:

  • Awarded by the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • First awarded in 1901.
  • The award comes with a gold medal and prize money of 10 million Swedish kronor (over USD 1,118,000), courtesy of a bequest left 124 years ago by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel

Nobel Prize in Chemistry

  • Emmanuelle Charpentier and American Jennifer Doudna share the prize for developing the CRISPR/Cas9 tool to edit the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with precision.
  • It is possibly the only time in the history of the Nobel Prize that 2 women have been declared the sole winners.

What is CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats)? How does it work?

  • It locates the specific area in the genetic sequence which is the cause of the problem, cuts it out, and replaces it with a new and correct sequence that no longer causes the problem.

Details (For better understanding- need not mug up):

  • An RNA molecule is programmed to locate the particular problematic sequence on the DNA strand, and a special protein called Cas9 (genetic scissor) is used to break and remove the problematic sequence.
  • A DNA strand, when broken, has a natural tendency to repair itself. But the auto-repair mechanism can lead to the re-growth of a problematic sequence.
  • Scientists intervene during this auto-repair process by supplying the desired sequence of genetic codes, which replaces the original sequence.

Applications

  • It's simple: Its simplicity has often been compared to the ‘Cut-Copy-Paste’ mechanism.
  • Potential applications: It can potentially eliminate genetic, and other, diseases, multiply agricultural production, correct deformities, and even open up the more contentious possibilities of producing ‘designer babies, and bringing cosmetic perfection.
  • For Agriculture: Genes of plants can be edited to make them withstand pests, or improve their tolerance to drought or temperature.

Source: TH, PIB, ANI, etc

Other Related News

12 October,2020
Signalling optimism

Signalling optimism Context: Latest Monetary policy review. Latest review: The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has voted to keep policy interest rates unchanged and has stated that it would continue with the accommodative stance at least through the end of the current financial y

Ending conflict in the Caucasus

Ending conflict in the Caucasus Context: The military confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan. News: Given that the military confrontation has been raging on between Armenia and Azerbaijan there have been calls for a ceasefire. The Madrid Principles could be the starting p

Need For MSP Reforms

Need For MSP Reforms Context Recently, three new farm laws were passed by the parliament to increase the relative role of markets without dismantling the MSP (Minimum Support Prices) system. These laws meet widespread protest from the farming community, especially in Punjab and Haryana. F

11 October,2020
Genetic scissors and rewriting the code of life

Genetic scissors and rewriting the code of life Context: The 2020 Nobel Prizes for Chemistry has been awarded to two women scientists Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier “for the development of the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic method for genome editing”. About CRISPR/Cas9

The Milky Way’s secret

The Milky Way’s secret Context: 2020 Nobel Prize in physics has been awarded to Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea M. Ghez for their work on black holes. Important terminologies: 1. Event Horizon: It is defined as a notional boundary around a black hole beyond whi

Toppers

Search By Date

Newsletter Subscription
SMS Alerts

Important Links