The Compound Eye – Scientific Social Responsibility, GM mosquitoes and ASEAN

Scientific Social Responsibility

The Ministry of Science and Technology has released draft guidelines for the inclusion of Scientific Social responsibility (SSR) on the lines of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Prime Minister Narendra Modi advocated scientific social responsibility for leading scientific institutions to “promote scientific excellence in all stakeholders, including educational institutions”. (Read more)

Mosquito vs Mosquito

Not many people are fond of mosquitoes, the most deadly animal in the world. Mosquito-borne diseases are a global problem – from Brazil to India. Some countries including Sri Lanka and most recently Uzbekistan have been successful at eradicating single mosquito-borne diseases. Amongst the many attempts being made to curb diseases such as Dengue, Zika, Malaria, is the introduction of genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes. This technology comes in two flavours – one, where the GM male mosquito carries a lethal protein that kills any larvae formed through mating with wild-type females and second, where the GM mosquito contains genes that preclude it from hosting disease-causing pathogens. (Read more)

Welcoming PhD students beyond India: 

On 25th January 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, commemorating 25 years of ties between India and ASEAN, announced 1000 fellowships for ASEAN citizens to pursue PhD programmes in IITs. On 16th September 2019, this programme was officially launched.

The initiative will fund 250 scholars this year (first batch expected to start working from January 2020), 300 in 2020 and 450 the year after. The present scheme has an initial budget of Rs. 300 crore. (Read more)

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

The Denisovan look: Evolutionary biologists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have reconstructed skeletal morphology of a young Denisovan girl using DNA methylation patterns.The ancient girl’s little finger was discovered in 2008 and is part of very limited set of Denisovan fossils. Ancient DNA analyses indicate that Denisovans, who inhabited parts of Asia from around 300,000 to 50,000 years ago, were more closely related to Neandertals than to Homo sapiens. Some present-day human populations carry small amounts of Denisovan ancestry.

CSR funds for research purposes:  The Union government has decided to allow corporate India to use their mandatory corporate social responsibility spending on publicly-funded incubators and contribute to research efforts in science, technology, medicine and engineering at major institutions and bodies. This will not compensate the government underspending on R & D, but hopefully spur a culture of sponsoring research in our corporates.

Massive Bull Semen Explosion in Australia: A huge fire at a cattle breeding facility in Yarram Herd Services in Gippsland, Victoria has caused severe damage after at least 100 cylinders containing bull semen were destroyed. Reports of firefighters having to dodge “flying projectiles” were made to the news and the Country Fire Authority Gippsland commander added “that he has never had ‘anything to do with the artificial insemination (AI) side of things before’ during his career.”