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GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.

China Launches World’s Largest Human Genome Research Project.

Background-

  • China has launched the world’s largest human genome research project to document the genetic makeup of one lakh people to help generate the precision medicines for the future.
  • The project would detect the genetic links between health and sickness and involve one person from different ethnic backgrounds and regions.
  • The project will collect the genetic data of Han ethnic majority people from all over the country and nine other ethnic minority groups with a population of more than five million. There are about 25,000 human genes and the project aims to decode the hereditary information contained in each.

Highlights Of The Development–

  • The project includes four stages – collecting, sequencing gene samples, gathering the data and sharing the findings.
  • Currently it’s the first stage, said Yu Jun, former deputy head of the Beijing Institute of Genomics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
  • Researchers will create a health contrast pool, he said, gathering genetic information from those who suffer a variety of diseases.
  • The project’s chief scientist Wang Yadong said that the research’s aim was to provide references for China’s medical research, clinical diagnoses and treatments.
  • The project will conclude all its gene sequencing and analysis within four years, which will also make it the fastest genome engineering project in the world. The report did not disclose the budget.

Sources- Business-Standard.

 

GS Paper II- Governance, International Relations.

Leaders Of All 10 ASEAN Countries Will Come As Chief Guests On Republic Day; Cleanliness Survey 2018 To Be Conducted: Modi.

 

Background

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 31st December, 2017 said that Republic Day celebrations on January 26, 2018 will be celebrated with leaders of all 10 ASEAN countries coming to India as chief guests. This is unprecedented in India’s history.
  • The year 2017 has been special for both ASEAN and India. ASEAN completed its 50 years of formation in 2017 and in 2017, 25 years of India’s partnership with ASEAN were completed, he added.
  • Modi said that the government will also be taking stock of the cleanliness programmes through a survey. He said that Cleanliness Survey 2018, the largest in the world, will be conducted from January 4, 2018 to March 10, 2018 to evaluate achievements in cleanliness level of our urban areas. This survey will cover a population of more than 40 crores in more than four thousand cities.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Explaining the mechanism that will be adopted, Modi said, that separate teams will go to cities for inspection. They will talk to the people there and gather their reactions. They will analyse the use of the Cleanliness App and also about bringing reforms and improvements in various kinds of service centres. It will also be observed whether the cities have created a system wherein cleanliness of cities will became public habit, or the city’s habit for that matter.
  • PM Modi said that 2018 will be a special year as those born in the 21st century will gradually begin to become eligible voters this year. He said that the Indian Democracy welcomes the voters of the 21st century, the New India Voters.
  • He also suggested organising a mock parliament in every district of India where the youth between 18 and 25 could sit together and brainstorm about new India, find ways and chalk our plans.
  • Setting a target for Independence Day of 2018, Modi proposed that a mock Parliament will be organized around the August 15 in Delhi. The mock parliament will comprise young representatives selected from every district of India who would participate and deliberate on how a new India could be formed in the next five years.

Sources- The Hindu Business Line.

 

GS Paper III- Bio-Diversity.

Scientists Discover Four New Balsam Species In Arunachal Pradesh.

Background

  • Throwing fresh light on the uncharted biodiversity in India’s north-eastern region, researchers from the University of Calicut in Kerala have reported the discovery of four new species of balsam from various locations in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The team came across the new species while scouring the Eastern Himalayas as part of an expedition supported by the Department of Science and Technology and the International Association for Plant Taxonomy, Slovakia.
  • Commonly known as jewel weeds because of the diverse colour of the flowers, balsams are distributed throughout the Eastern Himalayas and the Western Ghats, Sri Lanka, South East Asia, Africa and Madagascar.
  • The genus is scientifically named as Impatiens, signifying the impatient nature of the fruits which explode suddenly when touched.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The researchers have published their findings in the international journals Phytotaxa and Webbia .
  • Reported from Pongchan, Impatiens Haridasanii was named after Haridasan, former scientist, State Forest Research Institute, Arunachal Pradesh, for his contribution to the taxonomy of the north-eastern States. The species is characterised by small pure yellow flowers and hairy leaves.
  • Impatiens pseudocitrina , discovered from Anjaw district, sports bright yellow flowers with small red spots on the throat and a long spur at the back. The species name denotes the similarities with I. citrina . A magnificent species discovered from the Lower Dibang valley.
  • Impatiens nilalohitae grows to a height of more than one metre and has dark purple flowers with pale yellow throat and green stalk. The name nilalohitae denotes the dark purple colour in Sanskrit.
  • Another spectacular balsam, I.roingensis, was found growing in Roing and Upper Siang. The plant has clustered white flowers with yellow patch on the mouth and hooked spur.
  • According to the authors, road widening works, deforestation and other development activities are posing a threat to the natural habitat of the new species.
  • The researchers have also reported the rediscovery of another species I. agastyamalayensis from the Western Ghats after a gap of more than a century.
  • India is home to more than 230 balsam species.

Sources- The Hindu.