Science & Technology Current Affairs - 2019

Science & Technology Current Affairs 2019-2020 category comprises current affairs with all important national / international updates in science and tech and events for the year 2019-2020 for UPSC, States, Civil services, SSC and other competitive examinations of India and States.

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MIT researchers develop new technology to remove CO2 from air

Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States (US) have developed a new technology to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from a stream of air, virtually at any concentration level. This is a new advance that may pave the way for new strategies to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) levels. The study by researchers was published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.

About the New Technology

While in most of the prevalent methods, removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from a stream of gas required higher concentrations like those found in flue emissions from fossil fuel-based power plants, but the new method could take out gas even when it was present in very low concentrations.

Method: Researchers described the device as a large, specialized battery with a stack of electrodes that absorbs CO2 from air passing over its surface as it was being charged up, and then released gas as it was being discharged. A chemical reaction then takes place at surface of each of a stack of electrodes as battery charges.

The electrodes are coated with a compound called polyanthraquinone compounded with carbon nanotubes.  The study noted that electrodes have a natural affinity for CO2 and readily reacted with its molecules in airstream/feed gas.  This new technology device operates at room temperature and normal air pressure.

The biggest advantage of this technology over most other carbon absorbing/carbon capture technologies is- ‘binary nature of the adsorbent’s affinity to carbon dioxide’. Moreover, the new system is energy efficient compared to existing methods- consistently using about one gigajoule (GJ) of energy per ton of CO2 captured.

What is IndiGen Genome project?

The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) has conducted a Whole Genome Sequencing of around 1,008 Indians from different populations across country in order to generate data on genetic diseases and to know risk of genetic diseases in future generations. The project is called as IndiGen Genome project.

Highlights of IndiGen Genome project

In April 2019, the IndiGen initiative was undertaken by CSIR. It was implemented by CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), New Delhi and CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad.

The outcome of project will have applications in a number of areas such as predictive and preventive medicine with faster and efficient diagnosis of rare genetic diseases.

The whole-genome data will be important for building the knowhow, baseline data and indigenous capacity in emerging area of Precision Medicine.

Benefits of Initiative

The ability to decode genetic blueprint of humans through whole-genome sequencing will be a major driver for- biomedical science, epidemiology of genetic diseases to enable cost-effective genetic tests, enabling efficient diagnosis of heritable cancers, carrier screening applications for expectant couples and pharmacogenetic tests to prevent adverse drug reactions.

Moreover, the outcomes of IndiGen project will be utilized towards understanding genetic diversity on a population scale thus making available genetic variant frequencies for clinical applications and enabling genetic epidemiology of diseases.

The whole genome data and knowhow for analysis of large scale genomic data is expected to enable evidence and aid in development of technologies for clinical and biomedical applications in India.

It will also ensure that India with its unparalleled human diversity is adequately represented in terms of genomic data and develops indigenous capacity to generate, analyze, maintain, utilize and communicate large-scale genome data in a scalable manner.