1. WORLD’S FIRST GM RUBBER SAPLING PLANTED
- News: A Rubber Board research farm on the outskirts of Guwahati now sports the world’s first genetically modified (GM) rubber plant tailored for the climatic conditions in the Northeast.
- The GM rubber has additional copies of the gene MnSOD, or manganese-containing superoxide dismutase, inserted in the plant, which is expected to tide over the severe cold conditions during winter — a major factor affecting the growth of young rubber plants in the region.
- About Genetically Modified Crops:
- Genetically modified crops (GM crops) are plants used in agriculture, the DNA of which has been modified using genetic engineering methods.
- Plant genomes can be engineered by physical methods or by use of Agrobacterium for the delivery of sequences hosted in T-DNA binary vectors.
- In most cases, the aim is to introduce a new trait to the plant which does not occur naturally in the species.
- Examples in food crops include resistance to certain pests, diseases, environmental conditions, reduction of spoilage, resistance to chemical treatments (e.g. resistance to a herbicide), or improving the nutrient profile of the crop. Examples in non-food crops include production of pharmaceutical agents, biofuels, and other industrially useful goods, as well as for bioremediation.
- Genetically engineered crops have genes added or removed using genetic engineering techniques, originally including gene guns, electroporation, microinjection and agrobacterium. More recently, CRISPR and TALEN offered much more precise and convenient editing techniques.
2. CENTRAL ASIA
- News: The Taliban captured Afghanistan’s main border crossing with Tajikistan, officials said on Tuesday, with security forces abandoning their posts and some fleeing across the frontier.
3. CHINA TARGETING CRPYTOCURRENCIES
- News: The price of the world’s most prominent cryptocurrency Bitcoin has more than halved in the last two months after hitting a peak in mid-April. The second-most valuable cryptocurrency, Ether, has seen a similar fall from its peak last month.
- China’s crackdown against cryptocurrencies, which are those that aren’t sanctioned by a centralised authority and are secured by cryptography, is said to have a lot to do with the crashing of the value of cryptocurrencies.
- In recent weeks, China has reportedly cracked down on crypto mining operations.
- The country has over the years accounted for a large percentage of the total crypto mining activity that takes place.
- In purpose, Bitcoin miners play a similar role to gold miners — they bring new Bitcoins into circulation.
- They get these as a reward for validating transactions, which require the successful computation of a mathematical puzzle.
- And these computations have become ever-increasingly complex, and therefore energy-intensive in recent years. Huge mining operations are now inevitable if one is to mine Bitcoins.
Access to cheap electricity has made mining lucrative in China. According to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, China accounted for nearly two-th