Factly articles for December 7, 2020

2nd Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) 2020 Conference

News: Minister of Science and Technology has virtually inaugurated the 2nd TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas) 2020 Conference.


  • About the conference: The Conference brings together scientists and clinicians from across the globe to build Indian Cancer Genome Atlas (ICGA).
  • Indian Cancer Genome Atlas(ICGA): It has been initiated by a consortium of key stakeholders in India led by Council for Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR), Government of India.
    • Aim: To create indigenous, open-source and comprehensive database of molecular profiles of all cancers prevalent in Indian population to better understand the underlying factors patient by patient.
  • The Cancer Genome Atlas(TCGA): It is a landmark cancer genomics program that molecularly characterized over 20,000 primary cancers and matched normal samples spanning 33 cancer types.
    • It is a joint effort between the US- National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute began in 2006 bringing together researchers from diverse disciplines and multiple institutions.

Additional Facts:

  • IndiGen Genome Project: It is being implemented by the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB),Delhi and CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB),Hyderabad.
    • Aim: To undertake whole genome sequencing of thousands of individuals representing diverse ethnic groups from India.
  • Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes(PCAWG): It is an international collaboration of the International Cancer Genome Consortium and The Cancer Genome Atlas(TCGA).
    • Purpose: The project revealed the most comprehensive gene map of the genes whose departures from normal behaviour — mutations — trigger a cascade of genetic misbehaviours that eventually lead to cancer.

Singapore clears Lab-grown meat

News: Singapore Food Agency(SFA) has approved the sale of a lab-grown meat product.This is the first time cultured meat has been cleared for sale anywhere in the world.


  • What is Lab Grown Meat? Lab Grown Meat or Cultured meat is meat produced by in vitro cell culture of animal cells instead of from slaughtered animals.
  • How is lab-grown different from plant-based meat?
    • The plant based meat is made from plant sources such as soy or pea protein while cultured meat is grown directly from cells in a laboratory.
    • In terms of cellular structure, cultured or cultivated meat is the same as conventional meat — except that cultured meat does not come directly from animals.
  • Advantages of Lab Grown Meat:
    • The lab grown meat could reduce land use by more than 95%, climate change emissions by 74-87% and nutrient pollution by 94%.
    • As meat is created in clean facilities, the risk of contamination by pathogens such as salmonella and E coli is significantly reduced thereby reducing the threat posed to public health by growing antibiotic resistance.

Chinese photonic quantum computer demonstrates quantum supremacy

News: China has claimed Quantum Supremacy With Computer 10 Billion Times Faster Than Google’s Prototype.


  • Quantum Supremacy: It is a term proposed in 2012 by John Preskill, professor of theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology. It describes the point where quantum computers can do things that classical computers cannot.
  • Difference between Quantum and Traditional Computing: Quantum computing differs from traditional computing in the way the two store information.
    • The traditional computer stores information in the form of binary bits that can process either ‘1’ or a ‘0’ at a time.
    • On the other hand,Quantum computers compute in qubits or quantum bits which means it can be put into a quantum state where they can simultaneously represent both 0 and 1.
  • Advantages of Quantum Supremacy: Quantum computers could be put to good use such as for: Strengthening cyber security; Accelerating artificial intelligence; Modeling traffic flows to improve our cities; Developing new medicines among others.
  • Concerns: Quantum computing might pose a challenge for the governments because if this technology goes into wrong hands, all the government’s official and confidential data will be at a risk of being hacked and misused.

Energy Efficiency Report 2020

News: International Energy Agency(IEA) has released the annual Energy Efficiency Report 2020.


Key Takeaways:

  • The slow pace of global progress on energy efficiency is set to slow further in 2020 as a result of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Global primary energy intensity – a key indicator of how efficiently the world’s economic activity uses energy – is expected to improve by less than 1% in 2020, the weakest rate since 2010
  • Investments in energy-efficient buildings, equipment and vehicles are also expected to decline by 9% in 2020.
  • Shifts in urban transport from public transport to cars were also witnessed due to pandemic as people remained fearful of infection risk.

Additional Facts:

  • International Energy Agency(IEA): It was established in 1974 as an autonomous intergovernmental organization under the OECD framework.
    • Headquarters: Paris, France.
    • Members: It has 30 member countries and eight association countries.India became an associate member in 2017.

Hampi stone chariot now gets protective ring

News: Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) has placed wooden barricades around the famous stone chariot at Vijaya Vittala Temple Complex in Hampi for protection.


  • Hampi Stone Chariot: It is an iconic monument located in front of Vijaya Vittala Temple in Hampi, Karnataka.Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Dedicated to: Stone Chariot is a shrine dedicated to Garuda, the official vehicle of Lord Vishnu.
  • Significance: Stone Chariot in Hampi is one of the three most popular stone chariots in India. Other two are in Konark (Odisha) and Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu).
  • Style: Built in Dravidian style, the stone chariot reflects skill of temple architecture under the patronage of Vijayanagara rulers who reigned from 14th to 17th century CE.

Additional Facts:

  • Vijaya Vittala Temple also known as Vittala Temple is dedicated to Lord Vitthala, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.The temple is located in Hampi, near the banks of the Tungabhadra River.
  • Built by: Temple was built in the 15th century during the reign of King Devaraya II of the Vijayanagara Empire. Several sections of the temple were expanded and renovated during the reign of Krishnadevaraya, the famous ruler of the Vijayanagara dynasty.

AYUSH Export Promotion Council

News: Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Ministry of AYUSH have decided to set up an Export Promotion Council for AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Un­ani, Siddha and Homeopathy) products.


  • Aim: To work together to facilitate more exports of AYUSH pro­ducts by standardising their HS (Harmonised System) codes for global trade.

Additional Facts:

  • Harmonized System or ‘HS’ Code: It is a six-digit identification code developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO).It is used by the countries as a basis for their customs tariffs, gathering international trade statistics, making trade policies and for monitoring goods.

Operation Trident

News: Every year, India celebrates December 4 as Navy Day to commemorate Operation Trident.


  • Operation Trident: It was an offensive operation launched by the Indian Navy on Pakistan’s port city of Karachi during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.Operation Trident saw the first use of anti-ship missiles in combat in the region.

Additional Facts:

  • Operation Desert Chase: It was the name of the Anti-espionage operation started by Military Intelligence(MI) in early 2019.It successfully culminated in 2020 with the arrest of two civil defence employees that they had been passing on sensitive information to Pakistan’s spy agency ISI.
  • Operation Bandar: It was the code-name given by Indian Air Force(IAF) to the air strikes conducted by its Mirage-2000 fighters against the major Jaish-e-Mohammed training facility at Balakot in Pakistan in response to the Pulwama terror attack.