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Pegasus scandal in India

The Government’s response to messaging platform WhatsApp’s revelation that Indian journalists and human rights activists were among some 1,400 people globally spied upon using a surveillance technology developed by Israel-based NSO Group is inadequate and, more unfortunately, is far from reassuring. Disclosure by Facebook-owned WhatsApp, which is suing the Israeli company in a California federal … Continued

Glyphosate-based herbicides

German pharma company Bayer is facing thousands of lawsuits over one of its products. A Reuters report said 42,700 plaintiffs in the US are blaming Bayer’s herbicides for their cancer, up from 18,400 plaintiffs in July this year. In August, a jury in California said that Monsanto (the company which Bayer acquired in 2018), should … Continued

What is ‘IndiGen’ project that is sequencing Indian genes?

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) recently announced the conclusion of a six-month exercise (from April 2019) of conducting a “whole-genome sequence” of a 1,008 Indians. The project is part of a programme called “IndiGen” and is also seen as a precursor to a much larger exercise involving other government departments to map … Continued

Can organoids, derived from stem cells, be used in disease treatments?

Some neuroscientists have warned repeatedly that fellow scientists are “perilously close” to crossing the ethical red line of growing mini-brains or organoids in the laboratory that can perceive or feel things. In some cases, scientists have already transplanted such lab-grown brain organoid to adult animals. The transplanted organoid had integrated with the animal brain, grown … Continued

What is quantum supremacy?

Quantum supremacy is a milestone that has been long sought in computing, and now Google has announced it has reached it. A look at the science behind the concept, and what was really achieved and how much remains. This week, Google announced that it has achieved a breakthrough called quantum supremacy in computing. What does … Continued

State of anti-polio drive

Type 3 and Type 2 poliovirus eliminated The world polio day on October 24 marked an important milestone in the war against polio when the Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication officially declared that wild poliovirus type 3 has been eradicated. The last case of wild poliovirus type 3 was seen in northern … Continued

Google claims quantum computing breakthrough

Google said on October 23 it had achieved a breakthrough in computer research, by solving a complex problem in minutes with a so-called quantum computer that would take today’s most powerful supercomputer thousands of years to crack. How are quantum computers different from traditional computers? Traditional computing relies on bits, or ones and zeros. On … Continued

Milk safety and quality survey details

  The “most comprehensive and representative” milk safety and quality survey has demolished the perception of large-scale milk adulteration in India. It was undertaken on 6,432 samples collected last year between May and October, and picked from over 1,100 town/cities with over 50,000 population. The survey by an independent agency at the behest of the … Continued

Uterine transplant: How it’s done, risks and debate

It is now one year since India’s first baby was born to a mother with a transplanted uterus. Such cases are rare across the world — Radha, whose parents have just celebrated her first birthday, is the 12th such baby worldwide. Now demand has risen, especially at Pune’s Galaxy Care Hospital, where the transplant had … Continued

What are microbial fuel cells?

At the London Zoo, a fern has started taking its own selfies, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) announced on Tuesday. ZSL scientists had laid the groundwork for the feat earlier this year, with the ultimate aim of using plants to power camera traps and sensors in the wild. This they achieved by installing microbial … Continued

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