Council of Scientific & Industrial Research Current Affairs - 2020

CSIR and CNRS, France inks MoU for Promotion of Scientific and Technological Research

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between India’s Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), and France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) to establish a framework for cooperation between two institutes towards promotion and support of scientific and technological research.

Highlights of MoU

The MoU was signed with a view of potentially beneficial and synergistic cooperation possibilities between CSIR and CNRS for translating science into technology. Both CSIR and CNRS may explore strengthening their cooperation towards fostering joint innovation and transfer of technologies applicable to India and France as well as to other nations.

The cooperation between two could include promoting technology transfer, sharing good practices and enhancing industry-academia cooperation. Broad research areas of mutual interest include environment and climate change studies; health research; biotechnology (including plant and marine biotechnology); material science and technology; engineering science and technology; and water research.

Background: Just like India and France have been natural partners, the CSIR and CNRS have had longstanding relations starting from 1975. The CSIR labs- CSIR-IICT (Indian Institute of Chemical Technology) and CSIR-NCL (National Chemical Laboratory) are currently implementing joint programmes with CNRS, which have generated several joint publications, patents and Ph.Ds. MoU is expected to boost cooperation even further between CSIR and CNRS and will contribute towards many critical areas like health, water, energy and climate change, etc. as well as contribute towards addressing the global challenges.

About National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), France

It is Europe’s largest fundamental research organization. Founded in 1939, CNRS is an interdisciplinary public research organisation under the administrative supervision of French Ministry of Higher Education and Research. With 22 Nobel Laureates and 12 Field medal recipients, CNRS ranks among the leading global research institutions for its excellent research and innovation achievements. CNRS carries out research in different areas and performs fundamental research on applied objectives with French companies in France and also abroad. It has thus set up 4 such co-funded centers with industry partnership in Japan, Singapore and Chin to address local needs.

About Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), India

It is the largest publically funded multi-disciplinary industrial Research & Development organization in India. It was set up in 1942 as an autonomous body and is now under the administrative supervision of Union Ministry of Science and Technology. The R&D institutes of CSIR conduct research in a wide spectrum of science and technology. CSIR India caters to technological needs of Indian as well as foreign industries based in India as well as abroad.

Scientists sequence Asiatic lion’s Genome for the first time

The scientists from Council of Scientific & Industrial Research’s (CSIR)-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad, for the first time sequenced the entire genome of Asiatic lion.

Key Highlights of Study

  • The population of Asiatic lion, an endangered species is very low. At present only 523 animals are found in the Gir forests in Gujarat.
  • Need for Conservation: The study of genomes unraveled evolutionary history of Asiatic lion. It noted that evaluation of genetic diversity (i.e. the total number of genetic characteristics of a species which serves as a way for populations to adapt to changing environments) placed Asiatic lion in lowest bracket of genomic diversity index which highlights the gravity of its conservation status.
  • Multi-Pronged Approach: As per scientist for conservation of Asiatic lions it is crucial to adopt a multi-pronged approach. Therefore, genome study which will identifying characteristics which are specific to Asiatic lions will enable better population and disease management of endangered big cat.
  • Importance: The genome sequencing of Asiatic lions would enable scientists to better understand their evolution. With better understanding they can develop specific markers to study Asiatic lion’s population genetics (it means the differences at gene level within a population) and can further get newer insights into their population status and subsequent management.
  • Significance: Until now only partial genomic information of African lion is available. Therefore a comparative genomics between both African lion and Asiatic lions can only be undertaken once complete genome of African lion is sequenced. Therefore, once complete genome of African Cheetah, Royal Bengal tiger, and Jaguar will be available, the comparative studies of all these big cats would be possible.
  • This signifies that final objective of scientists is to understand species at DNA level and study that if there are any specific problems with regard to adaptability of Asiatic Lion to environment or behaviour vis-à-vis other big cats.

About Asiatic Lion

  • They are also known as Indian Lion, and Scientific Name is Panthera Leo Persica.
  • IUCN Red List Status: Endangered
  • They are also Listed in Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, in Appendix I of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
  • At present the only home of Asiatic lion is Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat.
  • Threats: Asiatic lion presently exists as a single sub-population. They are vulnerable to extinction from unpredictable events, like epidemic or large forest fire and in recent years poaching incidents were also indicated.