31 May, 2020
25 Min Read
|GS-III||CRISPR-Cas9 - Gene Editing|
|PT Pointer||Sea Turtles in India|
|Mount Mayon||Human Geography|
|National Institutional Ranking Framework||Economic Issues|
|Assumption Island - Seychelles||Human Geography|
|Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)|
|Pulse Polio Immunisation (PPI) - IMMUNISATION PROGRAMME|
|Prompt Corrective action (PCA)||Economic Issues|
CRISPR-Cas9 - Gene Editing
Part of: GS-III- S&T (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
A Chinese researcher recently claimed that he had altered the genes of a human embryo that eventually resulted in the birth of twin girls. The genes were claimed to be “edited” to ensure that they do not get infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. If proven, it would be the first instance of human offspring having been produced with specific desired attributes, using newly-developed tools of gene “editing”.
What are Genes and what is gene- editing?
Genes contain the bio-information that defines any individual. Physical attributes like height, skin or hair colour, more subtle features and even behavioural traits can be attributed to information encoded in the genetic material.
An ability to alter this information gives scientists the power to control some of these features. Gene “editing” — sometimes expressed in related, but not always equivalent, terms like genetic modification, genetic manipulation or genetic engineering — is not new.
What is CRISPR-Cas9?
The clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeats, or CRISPR/CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9) (CRISPR-Cas9) system has revolutionised genetic manipulations and made gene editing simpler, faster and easily accessible to most laboratories.
CRISPR technology is basically a gene-editing technology that can be used for the purpose of altering genetic expression or changing the genome of an organism.
How it works?
CRISPR-Cas9 technology behaves like a cut-and-paste mechanism on DNA strands that contain genetic information.
Concerns: Tampering with the genetic code in human beings is more contentious. Leading scientists in the field have for long been calling for a “global pause” on clinical applications of the technology in human beings, until internationally accepted protocols are developed.
Study by Stanford University, U.S., found that the CRISPR-Cas9 system introduces unexpected off-target (outside of the intended editing sites) effects in mice. The fear that the CRISPR system is being prematurely rushed for clinical use lingers. Three recent reports have exacerbated this fear even further.
Conclusion: This CRISPR technology is indeed a path-breaking technology, to alter genes in order to tackle a number of conventional and unconventional problems, especially in the health sector. However, experiments and tests to validate its use must be subjected to appropriate scrutiny by the regulators, and their use must be controlled to prevent commercial misuse.
Part of: GS-III- S&T (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
What is Gene Sequencing?
A genome is the DNA or sequence of genes in a cell. Most of the DNA is in the nucleus and intricately coiled into a structure called the chromosome.
Every human cell contains a pair of chromosomes, each of which has three billion base pairs or one of four molecules that pair in precise ways. The order of base pairs and varying lengths of these sequences constitute the “genes”.
Sequencing a genome means deciphering the exact order of base pairs in an individual. It has been known that the portion of the genes responsible for making proteins called the exome occupies about 1% of the actual gene. The genome has to be mapped in its entirety to know which genes of a person’s DNA are “mutated”.
Gene Sequencing projects across world:
India’s Indigen project and other projects:
Genome India project:
Prospects of gene Sequencing:
Issues with gene sequencing:
Bharat Biotech’s diarrhea vaccine ROTAVAC gets WHO pre-qualification. The WHO pre-qualification paves the way for health and humanitarian organizations such as UNICEF to procure it for public health vaccination programs across the world. Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhea and kills more than 200,000 children every year. ROTAVC is also included in the Universal Immunization Program
Sea Turtles in India
There are five species of seas turtles in Indian waters — Leatherback, Loggerhead, Hawksbill, Green and Olive Ridley.
IUCN Status of these turtles are
Mostly these turtles are found in the eastern coast of the Country. Often turtle are confused with tortoises. The major difference between the tortoise and sea turtles is that tortoises dwell on land, while turtles live in the water for some or nearly all of the time.
The initiative was launched in the Cop21 UNFCCC in 2015. India is member nation of the global initiative
The objectives of initiative are,
It will help in achieving India’s INDC of increasing the share of clean and renewable energy in the energy basket
National Institutional Ranking Framework
The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) was approved by the MHRD and launched in 2015. This framework outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country.
The methodology involves various parameters for ranking universities and institutions such as
Assumption Island - Seychelles
Assumption Island is one of the 115 islands constituting Seychelles archipelago. India signed a pact to develop Assumption Island, during PM Modi’s visit to Seychelles in 2015.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) has recommended the introduction of HPV vaccine in the UIP. NTAGI is an advisory body that recommends vaccines for India’s Universal Immunization Programme (UIP).
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a group of more than 150 viruses. It is usually harmless and goes away by itself. However, some types cause papilloma or warts in parts of the body. HPV spreads by skin-to-skin contact and is the most common sexually transmitted infection.
HPV is commonly associated with cervical cancer. India has one of the world’s highest burdens of HPV-related cancer and around 67,000 women die from this disease each year. HPV vaccines offered by private firms face clinical trial issues in India on concerns of side-effects; Supreme Court is yet to decide.
The Ministry of Electronics and IT has highlighted that around 1300 social media URLs were blocked or removed in the last year. These were based on the recommendation of a government committee to deal with “objectionable content”.
The Information Technology (IT) Act 2000 and Indian Penal Code provides for dealing with “objectionable content” posted online. Blocking is a sovereign power that is given to the government by virtue of Section 69A of the IT Act. There are concerns with the parameters on deciding a particular content as 'inappropriate' or 'objectionable'.
Pulse Polio Immunisation (PPI) - IMMUNISATION PROGRAMME
As part of the National Immunisation Day observed on 28 January, PPI programme for 2018 was launched. More than 17 crore children of less than 5 years across the country will be given polio drops.
The polio virus causes paralysis, known as an acute flaccid paralysis (AFP). This is characterised by sudden muscle weakness, and fever in one or more limbs. India reported its last polio case in 2011 and is also declared polio-free by WHO in 2014.
However, the immunisation drive continues as polio virus is still circulating in other parts of the world. The injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) has also been introduced recently into the Universal Immunisation Programme. IPV is an injectable form of polio vaccine administered alone or in combination with other vaccines including the OPV (oral polio vaccine).
Universal Immunization Programme
Universal Immunization Programme was launched in 1985. Now mission INDRADHNUSH
The program now consists of vaccination for 12 diseases:
The Indradhanush mission, launched in 2014, is to fast track the universal immunization programme. The mission aims at increasing the immunisation coverage to 90% by 2018.
Prompt Corrective action (PCA)
Union Finance Ministry as a part of reforming process about to initiate a performance review for public sector banks. These reforms will be under the RBI’s Prompt Corrective Action (PCA). The PCA is invoked when certain risk thresholds are breached, there are three risk thresholds which are based on
The third threshold is the maximum tolerance limit, which has set NPA at over 12% and negative return on assets for four consecutive years. Under PCA there are two type of sanctions restrictions on dividend, branch expansion and directors compensation are of mandatory type and curbs on lending and deposit are discretionary type.
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