CAO Daily Editorial analysis for UPSC IAS 27-October, 2017

Current Affairs Only Daily Editorial Analysis for Competitive Exams


27th October, 2017

Archives


The identity puzzle  {Public Policy}

(The Hindu)


Context

This article talks about the The DNA Bill seeks to streamline genetic profiling activities.

Why in news?

The Law Commission of India submitted a draft of the DNA Based Technology (Use and Regulation) Bill, 2017 to the government in July.

Why was this bill submitted?

There are no appropriate legal mechanisms with regard to identifying missing persons, victims of disasters, etc., the DNA Bill seeks to regulate human DNA profiling and establish standard procedures for DNA testing.

Salient features

  • It includes the constitution of a statutory body called the DNA profiling board and a DNA data bank.
  •  The profiling board will undertake functions such as laying down procedures and standards to establish DNA laboratories and granting accreditation to such laboratories, and advising the concerned Ministries/ departments of the Central and State governments on issues relating to DNA laboratories.
  • It will also be responsible for supervising, monitoring, inspecting and assessing the laboratories.

Functions

  • The Board will frame guidelines for training the police and other investigating agencies dealing with DNA-related matters.
  • Its functions also include giving advice on all ethical and human rights issues relating to DNA testing in consonance with international guidelines.
  • It will recommend research and development activities in DNA testing and related issues.
  • DNA profiling will be undertaken exclusively to identify a person and will not be used to extract any other information.
  • The data bank will primarily store DNA profiles received from the accredited laboratories and maintain certain indices for various categories of data such as crime scene index, suspects index, offenders index, missing persons’ index and unknown deceased persons’ index with a view to assisting families of missing persons on the basis of their bodily samples and substances.

What is genetic profiling?Image result for genetic profiling

 DNA profiling is a technique by which individuals can be identified and compared via their respective DNA profiles

  • Within the non-coding regions of an individual’s genome there exists satellite DNA – long stretches of DNA made up of repeating elements called short tandem repeats(STRs) 
  • As individuals will likely have different numbers of repeats at a given satellite DNA locus, they will generate unique DNA profiles

Applications

DNA profiling is commonly used in criminal investigations (forensics) and to settle paternity disputes

The procedure involved is common for both

  • A DNA sample is collected (e.g. from blood, semen, saliva, etc.) and then amplified using PCR
  • Satellite DNA (with STR sequences) are cut with specific restriction enzymes to generate fragments
  • Fragment length will differ between individuals due to the variable length of their short tandem repeats
  • The fragments are separated using gel electrophoresis and the resulting profiles are compared

Forensic Investigations

  • Suspects should be a complete match with the DNA sample taken from the crime scene if a conviction is to occur.
  • The number of loci used to generate a unique profile depends on the size of the population being compared.

Paternity Testing

Children inherit half their chromosomes from each parent and thus should possess a combination of parental fragments

  • In other words, all fragments produced in the child should also be produced by either the mother or father

Be your own editor {Role of media}

(Indian Express)


Context

Young people must learn how to spot fake news. They also need to seek out more diverse sources of information

Why in news?

At the end of October, 8,000 Italian schools will teach their students how to spot fake news through a programme developed with the help of journalists as well as tech giants Google and Facebook. In Israel, the University of Haifa is launching a course titled “Fake News”.

Objective

The purpose of these courses is to ensure that public debate, particularly during election campaigns, is not hijacked by vested interests. Since the US presidential election in 2016, the spectre of Russia and its use of online propaganda has loomed large over public discourse in the West.

The voters of tomorrow certainly need to be armed with the ability to sift bare facts from motivated fiction. The effects of social media on the formation of opinion, however, go far beyond fake news.

How it works?

  • A newspaper, for example, has sections that deal with politics, crime, sports, the arts et al. There is, at least in principle, an attempt to tell both sides of a story in each report. On social media, the only editor is the user herself.
  • Algorithms ensure that people see more of what they “like”, that biases are reinforced rather than countered.
  • Fake news is certainly a crucial aspect of online propaganda.
  • But for young citizens to form opinions based on multiple viewpoints, they need to consciously seek out more than they are comfortable with.

The Tillerson tone {International Relation}

(Indian Express)


Why in news?

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on October 25 met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Mr. Tillerson arrived from Pakistan and started the day by meeting National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. He also laid a wreath at Raj Ghat.

Area of focus

  • Bilateral cooperation and partnership, expanding the economic ties and Pakistan’s critical role in the region.
  • It could mark the beginning of a new political conversation between India and the United States rooted in strategic realism and promises to narrow down long-standing regional differences on Pakistan and China.
  •  Tillerson sketched out a crucial role for India in maintaining stability in the Asia-Pacific region—along with partners like Japan and Australia, besides the US.

Exchanging notes

  • Tillerson’s visit to the region gives India and Washington an opportunity to gauge first-hand what each other’s priorities are at a time of unprecedented shift in regional and global politics
  • There are wrinkles in the relationship—the US position on limiting H1B visas, popular with Indian IT professionals is one.
  •  Another is the US position on Iran. India sees Iran as a gateway for its plans to bypass Pakistan and seek out an alternate route to Afghanistan.

Pakistan

  • In his speech last week, Tillerson said that “security issues that concern India are concerns of the United States”.
  • This was due in part because Pakistan was providing key logistics support for the US and other international troops in Afghanistan.
  • A third reason was that Pakistan had been able to successfully convince Western countries that terrorist activities in India were the result of the non-resolution of the decades-old Kashmir dispute

 


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