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Current Affairs 15/12/2022


  1. Base Editing: The Cancer Therapy

  2. Organisation of Islamic Cooperation

  3. Rare earths minerals

  4. Geographical Indication (GI) tag

The Cancer Therapy Context:

Researchers from the United Kingdom have announced the development of a successful new cancer treatment for T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a subtype of blood cancer (T-ALL).


Science and Technology for Grade Three

The following are the article's dimensions:

  • What symptoms are associated with this type of cancer?

  • What is meant by the term "base editing"?

  • How did the actual process of base-editing take place?

  • In what degree did the treatment succeed?

What symptoms are associated with this type of cancer?

T-ALL is a form of leukaemia that affects the bone marrow stem cells, which are responsible for the production of a specific type of white blood cell (WBC) known as T lymphocytes (T cells). These cells are responsible for a person's immunity because they eliminate infected cells, stimulate other immune cells, and control how the immune system reacts to foreign substances.

At least twenty percent of these white blood cells are abnormal, and as they accumulate in the bone marrow, they push out the "good" WBCs and cause the immune system to become less effective as a result. It is also possible for these unhealthy cells to accumulate in other parts of the body, such as the spleen, the liver, and the lymph nodes.

T-ALL can develop in both children and adults, but the likelihood of developing it decreases as one gets older.

Chemotherapy, bone marrow transplants, and radiation therapy are the three main treatment modalities typically used for this disease, which has a rapid progression rate.

What is meant by the term "base editing"?

The adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T) nucleotides can combine in a variety of ways to form an individual's genetic code (T).

Genes are deciphered from the sequences of these bases, and the genes provide instructions for how to make the vast array of proteins that are necessary for the body to function properly.

In some cases, malignancy may have developed in the T-cells, possibly as a result of an improper arrangement of the bases. A method that can correct this imbalance will lead to an improvement in the body's immune system.

Over the course of the past two decades, the community of biomedical engineers has become increasingly interested in a method that permits the modification of genes and the "fixing" of errors.

The CRISPR-cas9 technique has been one of the most successful strategies in recent years.

The Cas9-CRISPR system.

The CRISPR-cas 9 system is a method that some bacteria use to protect themselves from viruses. This method involves using an enzyme that acts like molecular scissors to cut off and store portions of a virus's genes.

It is possible to use guide RNA to introduce a different genetic code at the locations of incision, and it is also possible to programme guide RNA to cut a section of DNA at a particular location.

The CRISPR-cas9 system is thought to be the quickest and most adaptable method for making these modifications, although there are a number of other ways to do so as well.

An upgrade to CRISPR-cas9

David Liu of the Broad Institute in Massachusetts made a modification to the CRISPR-cas9 method so that specific bases could be changed directly.

A C can be changed into a G, and a T can be changed into an A, for instance. According to reports, base editing, which is still in its infancy as a technology, is more effective at treating blood disorders that are caused by so-called single point mutations. This refers to the situation in which a change in a single base pair can cause a disease that is fatal.

How did the actual process of base-editing take place?

The patient, Alyssa, who is 13 years old, was given a dose of healthy T-cells from a donor in the hopes that these cells will attack the cancerous cells in her body without destroying each other in the process. This treatment approach, which is also known as CAR-T therapy, has been around for some time, but Alyssa's situation was unique.

In the conventional form of CAR-T therapy, T-cells are modified by the introduction of a gene that directs them to seek out and eliminate cancerous cells. CAR-T cells are the name given to the cells after they have been modified. First, an individual's own T-cells will be extracted, followed by their modification and subsequent re-administration to the individual.

The problem with such a strategy (other than the expense), is that very often, when an individual is really sick, it is simply impossible to obtain enough healthy T-cells to create CAR-T cells. This is one of the main reasons why CAR-T cells have not been developed yet.

Although healthy T-cells can be provided to an individual by donors, these T-cells coming from a foreign body will attack each and every cell in the patient's body, rendering the treatment ineffective. Donors can provide healthy T-cells to an individual.

Because of this, researchers have turned to a technique known as base editing, which is a form of genetic editing. Using this method, researchers have been able to make it possible for a single donor to supply T-cells to multiple recipients without the typical risks that are associated with this practise. Alyssa was treated with genetically modified cells so that they could specifically target and destroy her cancer while leaving the rest of her body unharmed.

In what degree did the treatment succeed?

After the treatment was finished, the cancer showed signs of returning three months later, but the most recent investigations suggest there are no signs of it.

It is not yet known whether the treatment has successfully and completely repaired the immune system.

-References can be found in The Hindu and the Indian Express.

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation


India has issued a vehement condemnation of the visit made by the head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to the Line of Control (LoC) from the Pakistani side.


Global Studies Level Two: International Relations

The following are the article's dimensions:

  • Concerning the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) (OIC)

  • Why is it so important for India to have control over this region?

  • How much commercial interaction does India have with the countries that make up this region?

Concerning the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) (OIC)

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is a multilateral organisation that was established in 1969. It currently has 57 member states, which have a combined population of over 1.8 billion people as of the year 2015; of these, 53 are countries in which Muslims make up the majority of the population.

The mission of the organisation is described as being to "safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony," and it states that it is "the collective voice of the Muslim world."

Both the United Nations and the European Union have permanent delegations that represent the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Even though they have significant Muslim populations, certain members, particularly those in West Africa and South America, are not necessarily considered to be Muslim majority countries.

As Observer States, several nations, including Russia and Thailand, both of which have sizeable Muslim populations, are represented.

Why is it so important for India to have control over this region?

India has had cordial relations with countries such as Iran for centuries, while the smaller gas-rich nation The state of Qatar is one of India's most trusted partners in the area.

The majority of the countries in the Gulf region have positive relations with India.

Trade and oil and gas production are the two primary reasons for the relationship between the two countries.

The large number of Indians who find employment in Gulf countries and the remittances that these individuals send back to their home countries are two additional reasons.

How much commercial interaction does India have with the countries that make up this region?

India has established itself as a major trading partner with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait. The GCC has enormous potential to become India's investment partner in the future.

The substantial oil and gas reserves held by the GCC are of the utmost importance for meeting India's requirements for energy.


When exports ($28 billion) and imports ($45 billion) are counted separately, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was India's third largest trading partner in 2021-2022. However, the UAE was India's second largest trading partner for both exports and imports.

When compared to the United States ($1.19 trillion) and China ($1.15 trillion) in terms of total trade volume, the United Arab Emirates ($72.9 billion) ranked third.

The United Arab Emirates was responsible for 6.6% of all of India's exports and 7.3% of all of India's imports in the most recent fiscal year, representing a 68.4% increase from the previous year when the pandemic had a negative impact on international trade.

-Source: "The Hindu"

Minerals Derived From Rare Earths :

India is not dependent on China for the acquisition of rare earth minerals, according to the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology; the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Earth Sciences; and the Minister of State for the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy, and Space.


GS-I: Geography, with a focus on the Distribution of Key Natural Resources, Mineral, and Energy Resources; GS Paper-II: International Relations (India and its Neighborhood)

The following are the article's dimensions:

  • What exactly are REMs?

  • Heavy dependence

  • India Mission for the Rare Earths

What exactly are REMs?

The rare earth minerals, also known as REM, are comprised of seventeen different types of metals. In addition to the fifteen lanthanides found on the periodic table, scandium and yttrium are also considered to be members of this group because of their shared physical and chemical characteristics with the lanthanides.

The REMs have properties that are one of a kind, including those that are catalytic, metallurgical, nuclear, electrical, magnetic, and luminescent. Although they are referred to as "rare earth," these elements are not actually all that uncommon and can be found in relatively large quantities in the crust of the earth.

The importance of REMs from a strategic standpoint:

They exhibit unique characteristics in the areas of electricity, metallurgy, catalysis, nuclear physics, magnetism, and luminescence.

Its applications range from those that are used on a daily basis (such as lighter flints, glass polishing mediums, and car alternators) to those that are used in cutting-edge technology (lasers, magnets, batteries, fibre-optic telecommunication cables).

These REMs are necessary for even the most advanced of future technologies (For example high-temperature superconductivity, safe storage and transport of hydrogen for a post-hydrocarbon economy, environmental global warming and energy efficiency issues).

They help technologies perform with reduced weight, reduced emissions, and reduced energy consumption. As a result, they give technologies greater efficiency, performance, miniaturisation, speed, durability, and thermal stability. Their magnetic, luminescent, and electrochemical properties are what give them their unique characteristics.

Heavy dependence

According to the findings of the US Geological Survey, the United States imported 80 percentage of its rare earth minerals from China in 2019.

According to the European Commission's findings from the previous year, China is the source of 98% of the EU's supply.

In the midst of the shift toward green energy, in which rare earth minerals will almost certainly play a role, China's market dominance is sufficient to cause concern in the capitals of western nations.

The production of magnets that will be used in industries of the future, such as wind turbines and electric cars, requires the use of rare earth minerals. Some of these minerals' names include neodymium, praseodymium, and dysprosium. In addition to this, they are already being incorporated into consumer goods such as smartphone screens, computer monitors, and telescopic lenses.

In 2021, the Senate of the United States of America passed a law that aimed to improve the competitiveness of the United States and included provisions to improve supply chains for critical minerals.

According to the Deputy Director of the National Economic Council in 2021, the United States plans to increase its production and processing of rare earths and lithium, another important mineral component, while also "working with allies to increase sustainable global supply and reduce dependence on competitors."

The Mountain Pass mine in California represents the United States' best opportunity for increasing its production and should be prioritised.

The mine, which was once one of the major players in the sector, endured financial hardship as China rose to prominence and ate up its market share with the help of subsidies from Beijing.

It is anticipated that China will continue to hold a dominant position for some time to come; however, if recycling efforts were scaled up, according to experts, "20 to 30 percent of Europe's rare earth magnet needs by 2030 could be sourced domestically in the EU from literally zero."

India Mission for the Rare Earths

Ocean exploration has been pushed to the forefront of India's Deep Ocean Mission as an essential component of the organization's overall strategy by the nation's various industries, which have lobbied the government to create a mission with an expert workforce, analogous to the India Semiconductor Mission, and staff it with personnel.

In addition to expanding access to multiple sources of supply for these strategically important raw materials, the initiative would also seek to encourage the participation of the private sector in mining within the industry.

The business group has suggested including rare earth minerals in the "Make in India" campaign, which is a reference to China's "Made in China 2025" initiative, which focuses on novel materials and utilises rare earth minerals to create permanent magnets.

Why would you do that?

Even though it only produces 1% of the world's rare earth output, India imports the vast majority of the rare earth minerals it needs from China despite having 6% of the world's rare earth reserves.

For example, during 2018-2019, China was the source of 92% of the value of rare earth metal imports and 97% of the quantity of those imports.


~ Source: The Hindu

GI Tag, which Stands for Geographical Indicator


Recent statistics show that the total number of registered geographic indications (GI) has reached 432.


GS III: The Economy of India

The following are the article's dimensions:

  • Details

  • About GI

The Union government of India has awarded the Geographical Indication (GI) tag to nine products from different parts of the country. Among these are the Attappady Aattukombu Avara, which comes from Attappady, Maharashtra; the Alibag White Onion, which comes from Alibag, Maharashtra; the Ladakh Raktsey Karpo Apricot, which comes from Ladakh; and the Gamosa, which comes from Assam.

Attappady Thuvara, an important traditional crop of the Attappady tribal area in Palakkad district, Kanthalloor Vattavada Veluthulli, Kodungallur Pottuvellari, Attappady Aattukombu Avara, and Onattukara Ellu were among the five products from Kerala that were awarded GI tags. The remaining four were Attappady Aattukombu Avara and Kodungallur Pottu

Concerning the GI Tag

The aspect of industrial property that refers to the geographical indication referring to a country or to a place situated therein as being the country or place of origin of that product is known as the Geographical Indication of Goods (GIG).

Typically, a name like this will convey an assurance of quality and distinctiveness that is primarily attributable to the fact that it originated in a particular geographical locality, region, or country. This can be the case for both goods and services.

The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property recognises Geographical Indications as a component of intellectual property rights (IPRs). This convention also protects industrial property.

GI is also subject to the World Trade Organization's (WTO's) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, which governs intellectual property rights (TRIPS).

This tag is issued by the Geographical Indication Registry, which is part of the Department of Industry Promotion and Internal Trade (DIPIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry in India. The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, which came into force in September 2003, is responsible for the administration of Geographical Indications registration in India.

Darjeeling tea was the first product in India to be given the GI tag, and this occurred in the 2004-2005 time period.

A geographical indication can be registered for a period of up to ten years before it must be renewed.

It is possible to have it renewed on multiple occasions for additional periods of ten years each.

The city of Chennai would serve as the site of the Geographical Indications Registry.

A registered proprietor can be any association of persons or producers, as well as any organisation or authority that was established by or in accordance with the law.

Their name ought to be entered in the Register of Geographical Indication as the proprietor of record for the Geographical Indication that was requested.

The state of Karnataka has the most geographical indication labels, with 47, followed by the state of Tamil Nadu (39).

-Source: "The Hindu"


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