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Blockchain• Municipal Corporation of Bangalore along with non-profit (Citizen Involved & Technology assisted Governance) is all set to start a pilot project that will implement blockchain technology to make its Garbage-related complaint redressal systems more transparent and accountable.
Artificial Intelligence• Google's DeepMind has made a prototype product that can diagnose eye diseases. It scans a patient's retina to diagnose potential issues in real time.
• The prototype system can detect a range of diseases, including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration. Most notably, it can do this as accurately as top eye specialists.
• China is using AI to profile Uighur Muslims. Facial recognition technology is being used not just in Xinjiang but also in wealthy cities like Hangzhou.
• It is the first known example of a government intentionally using artificial intelligence for racial profiling, experts said.
3D Printing• Scientists in Israel unveiled a 3D print of a heart with human tissue and vessels, calling it a first and a “major medical breakthrough” that advances possibilities for transplants.
• People have managed to 3D-print the structure of a heart in the past, but not with cells or with blood vessels.
• Researchers must now teach the printed hearts “to behave” like real ones. Then they plan to transplant them into animal models.
• Maybe, in 10 years, there will be organ printers in the finest hospitals around the world, and these procedures will be conducted routinely.
Genomics• In an indigenous genetic mapping effort, nearly 1,000 rural youth from the length and breadth of India will have their genomes sequenced by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The project aims at educating a generation of students on the “usefulness” of genomics.
• Genomics is an interdisciplinary field of biology focusing on the structure, function, evolution, mapping, and editing of genomes. A genome is an organism's complete set of DNA, including all of its genes.
• Globally, many countries have undertaken genome sequencing of a sample of their citizens to determine unique genetic traits, susceptibility (and resilience) to disease. This is the first time that such a large sample of Indians will be recruited for a detailed study.
• The project is an adjunct to a much larger government-led programme, still in the works, to sequence at least 10,000 Indian genomes.
Cultured Meat• The country’s first project to research on cell-based meat, also called clean meat, would be taken up at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB).
• Cultured meat is said to be equivalent to conventional animal meat in terms of taste and feel, with the only difference being in the method of production.
• Clean meat would be produced through cellular agriculture with cells sourced from animals and cultivated into meat. Hence, it promises to revolutionize the food system by providing protein without harming the environment.
Antibiotics in Animal Husbandry• Scientists at the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research have isolated an anti-microbial protein found in the milk of Echidnas (or spiny anteaters). The protein promises to serve as an alternative to antibiotics used on livestock.
• Echidnas are unique egg-laying mammals found only in Australia and New Guinea.
• There is a rise of superbugs due to the indiscriminate use of antibiotics by the animal husbandry industry. The superbugs can cause mastitis, an infection of the mammary gland, in dairy animals.
• The team has been able to show that the protein from echidna milk is effective against mastitis-causing bacteria.
Space debris• NASA criticized India for the anti satellite test, describing it as a “terrible, terrible” thing that had endangered the International Space Station (ISS) and led to the creation of nearly 400 pieces of orbital debris.
• The amount of Indian space debris may have almost doubled in the aftermath of the Mission Shakti anti-satellite strike but this is still significantly less than the existing space debris generated by China, Russia and the U.S.
Defence satellites• Starting May, ISRO to launch a string of ‘defence’ satellites. HysIS, launched in November; Microsat-R in January; and the EMISAT sent into orbit on April 1 are all for what is called “strategic use”.
• EMISAT will add teeth to the armed forces by providing info on hostile radars.
China• China plans to send a manned mission to the moon and to build a research station on the moon’s south pole within the next decade.
• China aims to achieve space superpower status and took a major step towards that goal when it became the first nation to land a rover on the far side of the moon in January.
5G• South Korea is the first country to commercially launch fifth-generation (5G) services as it rolls out the latest wireless technology with Samsung Electronics’ new 5G-enabled smart-phone Galaxy S10.