Biotechnology Current Affairs

BIRAC celebrates its 6th Foundation Day

The Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) celebrated its sixth Foundation Day. The observance of the day was themed around ‘Sustaining Innovation – A Market Driven Pathway’.  The event was attended by large number of dignitaries from scientific and industry sectors both from within country and overseas.

Key Facts

Since its inception, BIRAC has supported over 650 projects, more than 500 start-ups and entrepreneurs and 30 incubators across the country. It has resulted in development of over 100 products and technologies and 150 Intellectual property (IP) rights being generated.

It has launched over 10 flagship schemes that are supported by funding from Department of Biotechnology (DBT), and manages 7 collaboratively funded programs with international partners. It tries to galvanize social impact by piloting research and extension services within series of thematic calls and other global definite initiatives to improve public health and beyond.

Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC)

BIRAC is not-for-profit Public Sector Enterprise (PSE) set up by DBT, Ministry of Science and Technology to empower emerging biotech industry to undertake strategic research and innovation. It is basically industry academia interface.

It implements its mandate through wide range of impact initiatives like providing access to risk capital through targeted funding, technology transfer, IP management and handholding schemes that help bring innovation excellence to Indian biotech firms and make them globally competitive.

BIRAC has initiated several schemes, networks and platforms to bridge existing gap between industry-academia research and facilitate novel, high quality and cost-effective affordable technologies. It has initiated partnerships with several national and global partners to collaborate and deliver its mandate.


  • Foster innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Enable commercialization of discovery.
  • Promote affordable innovation in key social sectors.
  • Ensure global competitiveness of Indian enterprises.
  • Empowerment of start-ups & small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
  • Contribute through partners for capability enhancement and diffusion of innovation.


Scientists create world’s smallest data recorder from bacteria

Researchers from Columbia University Medical Centre (CUMC) in US have converted natural bacterial immune system into the world’s smallest data recorder.

The researchers modified an ordinary laboratory strain of ubiquitous human gut microbe (bacteria) Escherichia coli (E Coli) which enabled it to record their interactions with environment and also time-stamp events.

Key Facts

The microscopic data recorder was created by taking advantage of CRISPR-Cas, an immune system in many species of bacteria. CRISPR-Cas copies snippets of DNA from invading viruses so that subsequent generations of bacteria can repel these pathogens more effectively. To build this microscopic recorder, researchers had modified piece of DNA called plasmid, giving it ability to create more copies of itself in the bacterial cell in response to an external signal.

Potential Applications

This research lays groundwork for new class of technologies that use bacterial cells for everything from disease diagnosis to environmental monitoring. It may help to record biological changes taking placing in digestive tract which can yield an unprecedented view of previously inaccessible phenomena. It can be also used in environmental sensing and basic studies in ecology and microbiology, where bacteria could monitor otherwise invisible changes without disrupting their surroundings.