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SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s Current Affairs Focus (CAF) Mains 2017: Day 17

  • IASbaba
  • October 27, 2017
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SYNOPSIS : IASbaba’s Current Affairs Focus (CAF) Mains 2017: Day 17

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1. What is mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT)? Examine its significance.

Introduction:

Mitochondrial replacement therapy is a medical procedure which involves pronuclear transfer or maternal spindle transfer to prevent transmission of mitochondrial disease from mother to fetus.

Body:

Significance:

  1. Positives:
  • Disease: There will be prevention of diseases transfer leading to healthy child.
  • Medical expenses: Will be less in future for child and family.
  • Government budget: Due to fewer diseases, government will have fewer burdens on budgetary allocations for health.
  • Man power: Healthy child will grow to healthy adult, leading to more man power hours for country.
  • Growth and development: Of economy due to more man power hours available with enough skills.
  1. Negatives:
  • Designer babies: It will lead to growth of designer baby industries.
  • Moral and ethical issues: Due to custom babies, it will become a industry in itself.
  • Inheritance traits: Babies will lose its own identity and inheritance traits because of third women involvement.
  • Hazards: In long run, it might turn into a hazard or longer run side effects are not known.
  • Money: It will become a money making industry.

Conclusion:

Science is both bone and bane on mankind. This therapy is same as it might give raise to disease free child and healthy future for it but it will lead to a new trend where people might be encouraged to go in for custom babies ultimately making it a moral and ethical disaster for world.


2. What is it genome sequencing? Discuss its applications.

Introduction:

Genome sequencing is figuring out the order of DNA nucleotides, or bases, in a genome—the order of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts that make up an organism’s DNA. The human genome is made up of over 3 billion of these genetic letters.

Body:

Applications of genome sequencing:

  • Forensics: Used in criminal identification since every individual has different genome sequence.
  • It helps to understand and comprehend the internal structure of genes in the DNA.
  • It helps to understand which sequence codes for what kind of proteins.
  • Medicine: The knowledge of sequence can tell you if you have any disease acquired or hereditary.
  • The knowledge of sequence can be used to prepare proteins.
  • The knowledge of sequencing will help to cure many diseases.[ which are currently not being solved]
  • Agriculture: Mapping of genome of micro-organism have enabled researches to make it useful for food crops and plants.

Conclusion:

Genome sequencing project is be a boon for mankind. Human Genome Project a first of its kind was taken up by multi- institutes and took 13 years from 1990 to 2003 to produce a blueprint of the sequence of genes and spaces between genes that make up typical human genome.


3. What are Carbon nanotubes (CNTs)? How are they different from carbon fibres? Also discuss their applications.

What are carbon nanotubes?

Carbon nanotubes are a form of carbon, similar to graphite found in pencils. They are hollow cylindrical tubes and are 10,000 times smaller than human hair, but stronger than steel. They are also good conductors of electricity and heat, and have a very large surface area.

Difference between carbon nanotubes and carbon fibres:

Carbon nanotubes (CNT) and carbon nanofibers (carbon nanofibers) (also known as stacked-cup carbon nanotubes) share many similarities. They are produced using the same techniques, are both hollow and their sizes are at the nanoscale level.

However, there are following differences:

  • The diameter of the fibers of CNT ranges from 1 to 30 nm. On the other hand, carbon nanofibers come with diameters of 50 to 200 nm; the diameter depends on the type of the carbon fiber.
  • Carbon nanotubes can be single-walled, but also multi-walled. Carbon nanofibres are much bigger, thus sometimes loose the concentrical structure, and also they can have a number of defects which are mostly absent from nanotubes.
  • Carbon fibres are even bigger (diameters of a few microns), are thus more disordered, less oriented, with more defects, etc., hence their lower mechanical properties (which can remain quite high though). Thus, the nanotubes have outstanding mechanical properties of nanotubes.
  • Carbon nanofibers are generally priced much lower than CNTs.

Applications of CNTs:

  • Owing to the properties like high stiffness, high tensile strength, low weight, high chemical resistance, high temperature tolerance and low thermal expansion, CNTs are very popular in aerospace, civil engineering, military and sports.
  • CNTs are used as additives in various structural materials, often mixed with carbon fiber to improve its properties. They are used in golf clubs, car accessories, aerospace vehicles, etc.
  • In medical sector nano tubes are being used to deliver drugs directly to diseased cells. CNT application has led to a new branch of medicine known as Nano Medicine.

4. What are Cryptocurrencies? How Do Cryptocurrencies work? Are there risks involved in cryptocurrencies? Examine.

SYNOPSIS:

Crypto currency is an encrypted decentralized digital currency transferred between peers and confirmed in a public ledger via a process known as mining.eg: bit coins, ethereum etc.

Cryptocurrencies use decentralized technology to let users make secure payments and store money without the need to use their name or go through a bank. They run on a distributed public ledger called block chain, which is a record of all transactions updated and held by currency holders.

Units of crypto currency are created through a process called mining, which involves using computer power to solve complicated math problems that generate coins. Users can also buy the currencies from brokers, then store and spend those using cryptographic wallets.

Cryptocurrencies and applications of block chain are still nascent in financial terms and more uses should be expected. Transactions including bonds, stocks and other financial assets could eventually be traded using the technology.

RISKS INVOLVED:

  • Risk to total loss due to your exchange account getting hacked
  • Volatility-value is not stable
  • Fear of regulation-the mainstream bankers are already lobbying for regulation against it as we are seeing more and more funds moving from banks to the crypto world
  • Scam is another big issues, the chances of buying into a scam is increasing with the introduction of a lot of junk altcoins designed to steal BTC through direct trading of BTC to those coins. Also the many ICO’s(initial coin offerings) enabled by ETH are a concern as they are backed up by nothing.
  • Forgotten or lost passwords leading to an inability to access the funds. (There are no password resets. One is in complete control of ones funds and completely responsible for securing them)
  • Quantum computing could break the encryption that underpins the security of the network.

5. What are Cyber Physical Systems? Discuss its significance.

 

  • Cyber Physical Systems is an interdisciplinary field that deals with deployment of computer-based systems that do stuffs in the physical world. For example, self-driven cars produced by Google and Tesla. It is a mechanism controlled or monitored by computer-based algorithms, tightly integrated with the internet and its users.
  • It has a transdisciplinary approaches, merging theory of cybernetics, design and process science and mechatronics. In this system physical and software components are deeply intertwined, each operating on different spatial and temporal scales. Autonomous unmanned vehicles (UAVs) and aircraft navigation systems and smart grids (where electricity is optimally distributed on the basis of calculations in real time by micro-processors) also qualify as CPS.
  • CPS is an important technological evolutionary area that needed to be addressed as it has potential to pose unprecedented challenges and also stresses to India’s demographic dividend.
  • It can be turned into a huge opportunity by ensuring that India’s future workforce is skilled in robotics artificial intelligence, digital manufacturing, big data analysis, quantum communication and IoTs.
  • The National Science Foundation of the United States already has identified CPS as a key area of inter-disciplinary research back in 2003. It means that India is late entrant in this technology which has huge potential
  • The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has initiated a Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) program.It has been conceived as a Rs 3,000-crore exercise that would at first take root in some of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). An initial budget of Rs 100 crore has been earmarked for the project in the current financial year.

 

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