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Science Monitor: 27 June 2020

Science Monitor: 27 June 2020

Topics covered in this Gist

  • Cabinet approval of new body 'IN-SPACE' to encourage private participation in Space Sector
  • India’s first mobile lab launched for testing COVID-19 State-of-the-art Lab on wheels to ensure hi-tech testing facilities in far-flung areas.
  • New computer algorithm to reconstruct cell-lineages developed by IIT Kanpur Researcher.
  • A new kind of glass developed by M.Sc. students.


  • To put India in a new league, the Government of India has decided to open up the space sector for private enterprises. Now like the U.S.A, the private players will be able to use Indian space infrastructure for a range of space activities.
  • For this, the government has announced a new body called ‘IN-SPACe- Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization center.
  • It will increase the participation of the private sector in the field of space technology. The body will supplement ISRO and NSIL – New Space India Limited.

About IN-SPACe:

  • Under IN-SPACe, the private player can now apply to use space facilities of ISRO to pursue and carry out different space projects. This move will benefit the nation if private players can use space data and infrastructure to develop noble functions and technologies. The step will also enable the Indian Space industry to be a significant player in the global economy.
  • IN-SPACe will have its own chairperson and board, and regulate and promote the building of routine satellites, rockets, and commercial launch services through the Indian industry and startups.
  • IN-SPACe will have its own directorates for technical, legal, safety and security, monitoring and activities promotion.
  • The year-old NSIL will be strengthened and empowered with a larger role in what the government has called the new `open and inclusive` space sector.
    • It will work with IN-SPACe and enable industry consortia to take on some of the activities of ISRO. These include launch vehicles and satellite production, launch services, and space-based services.

2. Rapid Response Mobile Laboratory- I LAB

  • The Infectious Disease Diag Lab (I-Lab) – Rapid Response Mobile Laboratory has been developed with support from the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, and Andhra Pradesh Med-tech Zone (AMTZ) under DBT-AMTZ COMManD (COVID Medtech Manufacturing Development) Consortia.
  • The main aim of the mobile lab (the lab is on the truck) is to address the shortage of critical healthcare technologies in India and move progressively towards a stage of self-sufficiency.
  • I-Lab is capable of conducting both COVID-19 and non-COVID tests and give results the same day.mobilelab.jpg
    • For COVID, it can carry out a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and enzyme-linked immunesorbent assay (ELISA) tests.
  • While the RT-PCR test is a COVID-19 diagnosis test, the ELISA test looks for antibodies developed by an individual against the virus. ELISA test tells whether an individual was infected with the virus anytime in the past and has now developed antibodies against it.
  • Along with this, it has the facility to test for Tuberculosis (TB), HIV, and others, as per CGHS (Central Government Health Scheme) rates. To ensure the quality of tests, it is being attached to the Department of Biotechnology’s certified testing centers.

3. New computer algorithm to reconstruct cell-lineage: LinTIMat

human cells.pngOur body consists of numerous cells that are functioning continuously to keep us alive. To understand how these cells grow and then develop the capability to perform a specialized function, we need an in-depth study of cell lineage.

  • Researcher from IIT Kanpur has developed a new computer algorithm to reconstruct cell lineages to understand the cell differentiation at a different level.
  • The algorithm, called the LinTIMaT, can also be very helpful in understanding pathological conditions in cells such as cancer.

What is cell?

  • Cells are the basic building blocks of living things. The human body is composed of trillions of cells, all with their own specialized function.
  • Cells are the basic structures of all living organisms.
  • Cells provide structure for the body, take in nutrients from food, and carry out important functions.
  • Cells group together to form tissues, which in turn group together to form organs, such as the heart and brain.

CRISPR-Technology.jpgAbout LinTIMaT

  • Researcher from IIT Kanpur has developed a statistical learning method, called LinTIMat, will help in understanding the process of cell differentiation by reconstructing the cellular lineage.
  • LinTIMaT is a statistical method for reconstructing lineages from joint CRISPR-Cas9 mutations and single-cell transcriptomic data.
  • The main advantage of LinTIMat lies in using two kinds of information at the same time. One is mutation data and the second is gene expression data. Both data can be gathered from one cell.
  • Such experiments have already been designed and by using such data LinTIMat reconstructs cell lineage.

Application of LinTIMaT

  • It can have a lot of applications like, we can know how cells develop normally or in case of some diseases, we can also know what are the functions related to its development.
  • In the case of cancer, there are different types of cells. Therefore, we cannot kill cancer with particular drugs.  If we can make a cell lineage map of cancer then physicians or doctors can get a lot of information to design a suitable treatment.
  • LinTIMat can also help in reconstructing the lineage of malignant cell types. The method can help in designing personalized treatment strategies.

4. New kind of glass developed by M.Sc. students

  • A new kind of glass research has been published in the Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids. The students of Chaudhary Ranbir Singh University (Jind, Haryana) developed a new kind of glass by identifying a particular combination of elements.
  • During the study, they found that the new glass emits white light when excited by a specific wavelength.
  • The properties of glass were studies by other institutes and the results proved the glass can be used to make LED and laser without choosing any other chemical coating.
  • Though LED’s helps to save on electricity bills yet this life and performs depends on thermal management and they degrade quickly when operated at a higher temperature. But the study conducted on new glass shows that this material can be used to make cost-effective products that will lasts longer.


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