Daily Current Affairs for UPSC Civil Services Exam – 11 October 2020

In Today’s News:

  1. Hepatitis C virus.
  2. Genome Editing and CRISPR/Cas9.

1. Hepatitis C virus

News Summary

The 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded jointly to Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton, and Charles M. Rice “for the discovery of Hepatitis C virus”.

Prelims GS – Science & Technology

Hepatitis C:
  • Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV): the virus can cause both acute and chronic hepatitis, ranging in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness.
  • Hepatitis C is a major cause of liver cancer.
  • The hepatitis C virus is a bloodborne virus: the most common modes of infection are through exposure to small quantities of blood.
  • This may happen through injection drug use, unsafe injection practices, unsafe health care, transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products, and sexual practices that lead to exposure to blood.
  • Globally, an estimated 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C virus infection.
  • Chronically infected with Hepatitis C will develop cirrhosis or liver cancer.
  • There is currently no effective vaccine against hepatitis C.

2. Genome Editing and CRISPR/Cas9

News Summary

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020 was awarded jointly to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna “for the development of a method for genome editing.”

Prelims GS – Science & Technology

Genome Editing:
  • Genome editing is a method that lets scientists change the DNA of many organisms, including plants, bacteria, and animals.
  • Editing DNA can lead to changes in physical traits, like eye color, and disease risk.
  • These technologies act like scissors, cutting the DNA at a specific spot.
  • Then scientists can remove, add, or replace the DNA where it was cut.
  • The first genome editing technologies were developed in the late 1900s.
  • More recently, a new genome-editing tool called CRISPR, invented in 2009, has made it easier than ever to edit DNA.
  • CRISPR is simpler, faster, cheaper, and more accurate than older genome editing methods.
  • CRISPR/Cas9 edits genes by precisely cutting DNA and then letting natural DNA repair processes to take over.
  • The system consists of two parts: the Cas9 enzyme and a guide RNA.
  • CRISPR-Cas9 was adapted from a naturally occurring genome editing system in bacteria.
  • The bacteria capture snippets of DNA from invading viruses and use them to create DNA segments known as CRISPR arrays.
  • The CRISPR arrays allow the bacteria to “remember” the viruses (or closely related ones).
  • If the viruses attack again, the bacteria produce RNA segments from the CRISPR arrays to target the viruses’ DNA.
  • The bacteria then use Cas9 or a similar enzyme to cut the DNA apart, which disables the virus.

Click here to view Genome Editing on the official website.



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