Paper: General Studies Paper-II
Section: Science and Technology
Topic: Development in Science and Technology
What do you understand by ‘Biosignatures’? Discuss briefly. (UPSC 2009 /150 Words)
Bio indicates life and signature means any mark that can prove identity. Thus, simply biosignature means using biological traits as identification and authentication mark of an individual. Individuals have different traits in various aspects. This can be characterised to produce biosignature. Hairs, retina, finger print, glucose level, blood group and other phenomenas can be used in this field.
Biosignatures can be helpful for authenticity of identity and records. They can be stored on a micro-chip and information can be decoded by machines. These may help in implementation of government programmes, diagnosis, diseases, defence purposes, etc.
In astrobiology, a biosignature can represent the fact of existence of life on extra-terrestrial surface. Similarly, fossils and other textures found from the earth can be used to study biology of ancient time.
In geochemistry, geobiochemistry and geomicrobiology also this is often used to find out what type of organisms are present in which place, from samples of their residues.
Define ‘Bioinformatics’. How does it work ? What are its major branches and applications? (UPSC 2009 /150 Words)
Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary approach in which application of computer science and information technology is to the field of molecular biology.
Mathematical and computing approaches are used to understand biological processes. Development in the field of genomics and other molecular research technologies and development in information technologies have jointly produce large amount of information related to molecular biology giving way to this new branch of science.
Bioinformatics is useful in mapping and analysis of DNA and protein sequence. It also compares different DNA and protein sequences to compare them. It helps in creating 3-D view models of protein structures.
The Human Genome project has increased importance of bioinformatics. The research will help development and success in sequence alignment, protein structure prediction, prediction of gene expression and protein-protein interactions, genome-wise association studies and many other areas.