Current Affairs 8th April 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam
Genome India Project
Context: According to Secretary of Department of Biotechnology (DBT), about 66% of Genome India Project has been completed.
About Genome India Project (GIP)
- Department of Biotechnology (DBT) initiated the ambitious “Genome India Project” (GIP) on 3rd January 2020.
- GIP aims to collect 10,000 genetic samples from citizens across India, to build a reference genome.
- Project is led by the Centre for Brain Research at Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science, which acts as the central coordinator between a collaboration of 20 leading institutions, each collecting samples and conducting its own research.
Need of the Project
- Genetic diversity: Indian population of 1.3 billion consists of over 4,600 population groups and many of them are endogamous.
- These factors have contributed to the genetic diversity of the current population.
- Genetic mutation: Indian population harbours distinct variations and often many disease-causing mutations are amplified within some of these groups.
- Study Indian population: Creating a database of Indian genomes means that researchers anywhere can learn about genetic variants that are unique to India’s population groups and use that to customize drugs and therapies.
- The United Kingdom, China, and the United States are among the countries that have programmes to sequence at least 1,00,000 of their genomes.
Significance of Genome India Project
- Genetic disease: It would aid our understanding of the nature of diseases affecting the Indian population, and then ultimately support the development of predictive diagnostic markers.
- Indian context: It would bring valuable addition to existing genome research, which has so far been limited to the Western context.
- Indian migration: It allows India to draw upon its tremendous genetic diversity, given the series of large migrations historically, and thus, add greatly to the current information about the human species.
- Personalized treatment: It would also open new vistas for advancing next-generation personalized medicine in the country, paving the way for predicting health and disease outcomes and modulating treatment protocols based on the genome sequences.
- Genome: It is an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes.
- Genome sequencing: It 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.
SaMD and SiMD
Context: Experts have recently warned that many personal use medical technology devices containing software can leak data that can breach the privacy and cause cyber-security threats.
What is software as medical device (SaMD) and software in medical devices (SiMD)?
- SaMD and SiMD are types of Medical Device Software, which refers to any software that is used in medical devices.
- Medical Device Software is a critical component of modern medical devices, as it enables the devices to perform their intended functions, such as monitoring, diagnosing, or treating medical conditions.
- Software as a Medical Device (SaMD):
- SaMD is software that is intended to be used for medical purposes without being part of a hardware medical device.
- It is typically standalone software and its primary function is to provide medical information, support medical decision-making, or provide therapy or diagnosis to patients.
- Examples of SaMD include clinical decision support systems, mobile medical apps, and medical imaging software.
- Software in Medical Devices (SiMD):
- SiMD refers to the software component of a medical device that is intended to provide control or guidance of the device’s function.
- It is an integral part of a hardware medical device and is designed to work with the device to provide a specific medical function or treatment.
- Examples of SiMD include software that controls the functions of pacemakers, infusion pumps, or diagnostic equipment.
Cyber security threats posed by SaMD and SiMD
- Data breaches: These devices are capable of collecting and transmitting sensitive health data, such as medical histories and personal identification information, which can be targeted by hackers in the event of a data breach.
- Malware and viruses: These devices are usually connected to the internet, mobile phones, servers, and the cloud and vulnerable to malware and virus attacks.
Context: The Union cabinet has cleared the proposal to develop a gravitational-wave detection facility in Maharashtra in form of Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO).
About LIGO-India Project
- The LIGO-India project will be set up in Hingoli district of Maharashtra, and will start scientific runs from 2030.
- LIGO is an international network of laboratories that aim to detect ripples in space-time (gravitational waves) produced by the movement of large celestial objects like stars and planets.
- Spacetime encapsulates the current understanding of how gravitation works. It was first postulated in Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.
- The detector will be built as part of LIGO-India collaboration. This will be the sixth LIGO project, with two already existing in the US, two in and one in Japan.
Working of LIGO
- LIGO comprises two 4-km-long vacuum chambers, built perpendicular to each other. Highly reflective mirrors will be kept at the end of the vacuum chambers.
- Light rays are simultaneously released in both the vacuum chambers. They hit the mirrors, get reflected, and are captured back.
- Under normal circumstances, the light rays in both the chambers would return simultaneously. But when a gravitational wave arrives, one of the chambers gets a little elongated, while the other one gets squished a bit.
- Due to this effect, light rays do not return simultaneously, and there is a phase difference. The presence of a phase difference marks the detection of a gravitational wave.
Significance of the project
- The project has the potential to transform India into a global site of gravitational physics research, aiding training and the handling of precision technologies and sophisticated control systems.
- The project can cement India’s reputation for successfully running an experimental Big Science project in the world.
- They are ripples in spacetime that are produced by moving objects, especially celestial. They can be compared with ripples in water.
- Because these are ripples in spacetime, gravitational waves have the effect of causing a temporary deformation in a body when it comes in contact.
Ladakh’s Wood Carvings
Context: Ladakh’s wood carvings have been provided the GI tag.
About Wood Carvings of Ladakh
- The Wood carving art is known as Shingkos in Ladakh and is a traditional form of art in the handicraft field.
- It is part of the five major fields of knowledge in the traditional education system of Ladakh.
- These carvings have importance in social and religious spheres of life. They can be found on monasteries and is deeply associated with religious worship.
- The carvings are particularly used for Choktse, a Ladakhi-style table, and the carving of eight lucky symbols.
- Geographical Indications (GI) is a form of Intellectual Property right that identifies goods originating from a specific geographical location and having distinct nature, quality and characteristics linked to that location.
- Only an authorized user will have the exclusive right to use the Geographical Indication in relation to these products.
- These products cannot be copied from beyond their geographical areas, ensuring that exclusive rights holders can promote their brands at the international level.
Device to Monitor Air Pollution from Space: NASA
Context: NASA has recently launched a device- to monitor Air pollution from Space.
About the Device:
- The TEMPO device was launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket mounted on a geostationary satellite, which means it orbits the Earth at the same speed as the planet’s rotation, allowing it to remain in a fixed position over North America.
- TEMPO will be able to measure the concentrations of various air pollutants, including nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, formaldehyde, and aerosols.
- The instrument will measure pollution and air quality across greater North America on an hourly basis during the daytime all the way “from Puerto Rico up to the tar sands of Canada.”
- This high level of detail is expected to improve our understanding of the sources and movement of pollution, as well as help policymakers develop more effective strategies for reducing it.
- The data will be used by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other agencies responsible for tackling atmospheric pollution.
Reasons for the Launch:
- More than 40 per cent of the US population, 137 million people, live in places with unhealthy levels of particle pollution or ozone, according to the American Lung Association.
- Air pollution is blamed for some 60,000 premature deaths a year.
- A unique feature of TEMPO, which is about the size of a washing machine and has been described as a chemistry laboratory in space, is that it will be hosted on an Intelsat communications satellite in geostationary orbit.
- A geostationary orbit is a type of orbit around the Earth in which a satellite appears to remain stationary in the sky as seen from a fixed point on the planet’s surface.
- To achieve a geostationary orbit, a satellite must be placed at an altitude of approximately 22,236 miles (35,786 kilometers) above the Earth’s equator.
- At this altitude, the satellite’s orbital period matches the Earth’s rotation period of about 24 hours, which means that the satellite appears to remain in the same spot in the sky relative to an observer on the ground.
- Existing pollution-monitoring satellites are in low Earth orbit, which means they can only provide observations once a day at a fixed time.
- TEMPO will be able to measure atmospheric pollution down to a spatial resolution of 4 square miles (10 square kilometers), or neighborhood level.
- In the past, NASA has launched several other devices to measure air quality, including the Aura satellite, which has been in orbit since 2004.