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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Red Snow

5th June, 2020

Why in News?

The phenomenon of “red snow” or “watermelon” has been observed over the last few weeks around Ukraine’s Vernadsky Research Base, off the coast of Antarctica’s northernmost peninsula.

The snow is red because of a red-pigmented, microscopic algae called Chlamydomonas nivalis chlamydomonas, which thrives in freezing water as the ice melts.

Key Points:

  • This phenomenon has been known since ancient times but now it raises concerns about climate change.

Aristotle is believed to be one of the first to give a written account of red snow, over 2,000 years ago. He attributed the redness of the snow to the colour of worms and grub (larva of an insect), which are found in long-lying snow.

According to modern-day scientists, it is an algae species, Chlamydomonas nivalis chlamydomonas which exists in the snow in the polar and glacial regions and carries a red pigment to keep itself warm.

  • Algae contain chlorophyll (green pigment)as well as a red carotene layer in their cells which mixes with the green colour to cause snow to look like “raspberry jam”.
  • This layer is also said to protect the algae from ultraviolet radiation.
  • These algaechange the snow’s albedo (the amount of light or radiation the snow surface is able to reflect back).

The intensity of the redness increases with the dense presence of the algae. The darker tinge leads to more absorption of heat by the snow. Subsequently, the ice melts faster.

  • The melting is good for the microbesthat need the liquid water to survive and thrive but it is bad for already melting glaciers.

Messenger RNA (mRNA) &  Transfer RNA( tRNA)

Messenger RNA (mRNA):

Messenger RNA (mRNA) is a single-stranded RNA molecule that is complementary to one of the DNA strands of a gene.

The mRNA is an RNA version of the gene that leaves the cell nucleus and moves to the cytoplasm where proteins are made

Uses : Messenger RNA (mRNA) carries the genetic information copied from DNA in the form of a series of three-base code “words,” each of which specifies a particular amino acid.

Transfer RNA (tRNA) is the key to deciphering the code words in mRNA.

Example: Your body is better suited for some foods than others depending on your DNA. Every DNA sequence that eventually ends up as a protein is an example of mRNA.

The messenger RNA or mRNA is simply a transient carrier of information on what to synthesise from the nucleus to the ribosomes.

mRNA-1273:

Recently, a  biotech company named Moderna has developed an RNA-based vaccine named mRNA-1273  and has successfully completed the phase 1 clinical trials and phase II and III trials are yet to be completed.

 

About the Transfer RNA (tRNA):

Transfer ribonucleic acid (tRNA) is a type of RNA molecule that helps decode a messenger RNA (mRNA) sequence into a protein.

tRNAs function at specific sites in the ribosome during translation, which is a process that synthesizes a protein from an mRNA molecule.

Types of tRNA:

tRNA can be classified based on the amino acid it carries, giving rise to 20 different tRNAs. Alternatively, they can also be grouped based on their anticodon.

There are 64 possible codons arising from a combination of four nucleotides

Facts for Prelims

Operation Sanjeewani:

  • An Indian Air Force (IAF) C-130J transport aircraft recently delivered 6.2 tonne of essential medicines and hospital consumables to Maldives under Operation Sanjeevani.
  • Among other things, these medicines include influenza vaccines, anti-viral drugs such as lopinavir and ritonavir — which have been used to treat patients with COVID-19 in other countries

Indian Councilfor Cultural Relations(ICCR):

ICCR was founded in 1950 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Independent India’s first Education Minister.

It is an autonomous organisation.

ICCR has been assigned the responsibility of facilitating the celebration of the International Day of Yoga by Indian Missions/Posts abroad since 2015.

Objectives:

  1. To actively participate in the formulation and implementation of policies and programs pertaining to India’s external cultural relations.
  2. To foster and strengthen cultural relations and mutual understanding between India and other countries to promote cultural exchanges with other countries and people, and to develop relations with nations.

Important awards by ICCR:

  1. Distinguished Indologist Award.
  2. World Sanskrit Award.
  3. Gisela Bonn Award.

 

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