The Compound Eye – ART, Gay Gene and Science Fraud: It is All Controversial

Assisted Reproductive Technologies

News of a 74 year old woman giving birth to twins has elicited mixed responses. A few years ago, a couple in their 70s also resorted to ART to conceive and obtain a child. The debate has brought into discussion the applications of assisted reproductive technologies and its use in geriatric persons. With the background of this event, let us look at two policies in India – the Assisted Reproductive Technologies draft guidelines.

THE ASSISTED REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGY (REGULATION) BILL, 2017:

This draft bill was brought out in 2017 but has not received attention in the Parliament. The Bill establishes National state level boards and a National Registry for the Regulation and Supervision of assisted reproductive technology (ART) clinics and the assisted reproductive technology banks, for prevention of misuse and for safe and ethical practice of assisted reproductive technology services. (Read more)

The gay gene

Sexual orientation remains a controversial topic and there is much debate on whether an individual’s orientation originates in their genes. In this context, a study of genomes of 493,001 people has revealed that there are though certain genome markers may be linked to same-sex sexual behaviour, none of them were reliable enough to predict sexuality.

The authors estimate that up to 25% of sexual behaviour can be explained by genetics, with the rest influenced by environmental and cultural factors. The influence of genetics is likely a complex interaction between various genes and not derived by the presence of a single gene. (Read more)

CSIR response to scientific misconduct allegations: 

In a previous edition, The Compound Eye covered the alleged gross scientific misconduct that had been exposed at CSIR laboratories.

In a tweet, CSIR Director-General Shekhar Mande announced that he “would like to assure everyone that the matter is under active consideration and request all for patience and understanding.”

In a statement accompanying the tweet, he announced steps that had been taken to address the concerns around scientific misconduct. These include: (Read more)

Meanwhile, here is some weird and/or wonderful news:

Life expectancy in India improves marginally: The overall expectancy grew from 68.7 years in 2012-2016 to 69 years, with women expected to live for 70.4 years and men for 67.8 years according to the latest Sample Registration Survey for 2013-2017.

Cacao trees are being ravaged by a disease with no cure:  The swollen shoot disease, which is of viral origin, is causing grave concern to the production of cocoa in Western African countries. The loss of crop is of obvious damage to these countries’ economies, but some even go as far to suggest that chocolate itself will run out in another 3 decades. Better start stocking up now!

ICMR funds a project to chant Mahamrityunjaya mantra to aid brain-injury patients: I have found only one report of this, so do not know if this is true or not. But thought this makes a wonderful end to this controversial edition.