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Science and Technology Current Affairs Dec 1st Week 2018
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Science and Technology Current Affairs Dec 1st Week 2018

 1. Scientists discover four new balsam species in Arunachal Pradesh.

Throwing fresh light on the uncharted biodiversity in India’s north-eastern region, researchers from the University of Calicut in Kerala have reported the discovery of four new species of balsam from various locations in Arunachal Pradesh.

The team came across the new species while scouring the Eastern Himalayas as part of an expedition supported by the Department of Science and Technology and the International Association for Plant Taxonomy, Slovakia.

Commonly known as jewel weeds because of the diverse colour of the flowers, balsams are distributed throughout the Eastern Himalayas and the Western Ghats, Sri Lanka, South East Asia, Africa and Madagascar. The genus is scientifically named as Impatiens, signifying the impatient nature of the fruits which explode suddenly when touched.

The researchers have published their findings in the international journals Phytotaxa and Webbia .

Reported from Pongchan, Impatiens Haridasanii was named after Haridasan, former scientist, State Forest Research Institute, Arunachal Pradesh, for his contribution to the taxonomy of the north-eastern States. The species is characterised by small pure yellow flowers and hairy leaves. Impatiens pseudocitrina , discovered from Anjaw district, sports bright yellow flowers with small red spots on the throat and a long spur at the back. The species name denotes the similarities with I. citrina . A magnificent species discovered from the Lower Dibang valley, Impatiens nilalohitae grows to a height of more than one metre and has dark purple flowers with pale yellow throat and green stalk. The name nilalohitae denotes the dark purple colour in Sanskrit.

Another spectacular balsam, I.roingensis, was found growing in Roing and Upper Siang. The plant has clustered white flowers with yellow patch on the mouth and hooked spur.

According to the authors, road widening works, deforestation and other development activities are posing a threat to the natural habitat of the new species.

The researchers have also reported the rediscovery of another species I. agastyamalayensis from the Western Ghats after a gap of more than a century.

India is home to more than 230 balsam species.

Earlier this year, scientists had reported the discovery of Impatiens arunachalensis , a critically endangered species, from the Upper Siang district. Another balsam species Impatiens walongensis has been reported from Anjaw district.

2. Health Ministry and Tata Memorial Centre Launches India`s First Digital Online Oncology Tutorial.

Doctors, including gynaecologists, dentists and general physicians, across the country can now have access to online training on the basics of oncology detection to help in early identification and diagnosis of cancer.

The Health Ministry launched the country’s first digital online oncology tutorial series on Thursday designed in collaboration with the Tata Memorial Centre. “The series is aimed at educating doctors in early detection, prevention, palliation, rehabilitation and treatment of various forms of cancers,” an official release stated.

This is part of a national programme that will be rolled out across the country by Tata Memorial Centre in collaboration with state governments. “This is a visionary step that will leverage advances in IT to strengthen health outreach and health services in the country,” said Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, at the inaugural function.

The initiative will help the doctors upgrade their knowledge and skills regularly thereby taking care of obsolescence, save many precious lives and improve the quality of life of many more, she added.

The overall course, designed for seven weeks, will equip doctors with the skills and knowledge on the basics of oncology to detect, diagnose and refer cancer cases early. It comprises 14 hours of comprehensive e-learning through more than 40 video lectures, case studies, assessment questionnaires and periodic interactive webinar sessions with the respective consultants of Tata Memorial Hospital.

The online video lectures are also designed to update oncologists with the evidence-based guidelines and skill for the management of cancer, the release said.


 

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