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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Iran can consider a 20% cap on uranium enrichment

Iran is ready to negotiate over the issue of its uranium enrichment programme. It has offered that it can put a 20% on uranium enrichment if it is assured a regular supply of nuclear fuel for its medical reactor that manufactures isotopes to treat cancer.

What is uranium enrichment?

  • Naturally occurring Uranium is composed of two main isotopes and 235U. the percentage of 238U is 99.284% and 235U constitutes only about 0.711% of its weight.
  • 235U is fissile with thermal neutrons.
  • In order to produce nuclear bomb and naval propulsion highly enriched uranium is required.
  • Enriched uranium is a type of uranium in which the percent composition of uranium-235 has been increased through the process of isotope separation. Enriched uranium is also called Oralloy.

What is highly enriched uranium?

  • Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) has a greater than 20% concentration of 235U or 233U.
  • The fissile uranium in nuclear weapons usually contains 85% or more of 235U known as weapon(s)-grade.
  • The very first uranium bomb, Little Boy dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, used 64 kilograms of 80% enriched uranium.

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Human DNA Profiling Bill soon

The Human DNA Profiling Bill, to create a DNA data centre to profile people accused of serious crimes and unknown deceased is on the anvil. 

  • imageProposal was considered in 2007, but then dropped down due to factor in ethical, moral and legal issues on the sensitive issues.
  • The Bill is drafted by the Department of Biotechnology.
  • The bill allows DNA profiling for cases of culpable homicide, murder, etc.

Does the bill cater to protecting privacy of individuals?

  • The draft Bill envisages that access to the information in the National DNA Data Bank will be restricted to those related to the victim or suspect

Objective:

  • Establish a DNA Profiling Board to lay down the standards for laboratories, etc.
  • Setting up a National DNA Data Bank.

How DNA analysis helps?

  • DNA analysis makes it feasible to determine whether the source of origin of one body substance is identical to that of another, and to establish the biological relationship, if any, b/w two individuals.

Forensic Material

  • The biological material from which the DNA sample can be lifted includes blood, semen, or any other tissue fluid.

DNA Profiling Board

  • DNA Profiling Board at the national level
  • Similar structures at the State level.
  • Headed by famous molecular biologists with the other members being from police, legal, biological and associated fields.

Functions of the DNA Profiling Board:

  1. Consider and suggest on all ethical and human rights issues rising out of DNA profiling in accordance with the UN vis-à-vis the rights and privacy of citizens, civil liberties and issues having ethical and other social implications.
  2. Make recommendations on the use and dissemination of DNA information.
  3. Assure the accuracy, security and confidentiality of DNA and guidelines destruction of obsolete, expunged or inaccurate information.

Any penalties for DNA data misuse?

  • The Bill lays down guidelines for establishment and functioning of DNA laboratories and Data Banks.
  • Lays guidelines for storage of biological substances and their destruction.
  • Imprisonment up to 3 years and monetary fine on data misuse.

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