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‘Manufactured rebellion by rabid anti-BJP elements’: Arun Jaitley on #AwardWapsi

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Patna: Hours after eminent Indian scientist P M Bhargava announced he would return his Padma Bhushan award and over 50 historians issued a joint statement in protest against the “growing intolerance in the country”, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that “manufactured rebellion” is growing at a faster speed now.

Jaitley alleged that those returning their awards were “rabid anti-BJP elements” and that some of them had even campaigned against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his constituency Varanasi in 2014.

“The fact that (the protest) has been stepped up in the middle of the Bihar election I’m now constrained to say that this is electioneering by other means,” Jaitley said.  

Eminent scientist Bhargava, who was the founder-director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), said on Thursday that religious belief was a personal choice and should not interfere in politics.

“The fear as we see in democracy today… the spread of Hindutva… I believe that (religion) really is a personal matter. It should stay as a personal matter. It should not make incursions into politics as it is doing now,” he said.

The 87-year-old said he also finds statements by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat that women should restrict themselves to doing household chores, as “detestable”.

Bhargava said he will meet the home secretary and give back the award. He also encouraged the youth brigade in the scientific community to come forward and protest.

Meanwhile, over 50 historians on Thursday came out strongly against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not making any reassuring statement following concerns over “highly vitiated atmosphere” prevailing in the country.

A total of 53 historians including leading names like Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib, KN Pannikar and Mridula Mukherjee have, in a joint statement released by Sahmat, raised their serious concerns over recent developments. 

“Differences of opinion are being sought to be settled by using physical violence. Arguments are met not with counter-arguments but with bullets,” the statement said referring to the Dadri lynching incident and the recent ink attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni during a book launch function in Mumbai.

Incidentally, the veteran researcher is one of the scientists who started the online petition on Tuesday, signed by at least 100 senior scientists, addressed to President Pranab Mukherjee against growing intolerance.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Genes Determining Hair Colour To Boost Cancer Research

Cancer research to be boosted up by genes that determine hair colour.

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Genes are a part of DNA/RNA.
Genes- A segment of DNA. Pixabay

An international team of scientists have identified 124 genes that play a major role in determining human hair colour variation, a finding that may pave way for better understanding of conditions linked to pigmentation like vitiligo and skin cancer.

The discovery sheds new light on our understanding of the genetic complexity underpinning variations in human pigmentation and could advance our knowledge of conditions linked to pigmentation, such as skin, testicular, prostate and ovarian cancers.

Out of the new 124 genes, more than 100 were not previously known to influence pigmentation, the study showed.

Cancer word on newspaper
Cancer. Pixabay

“The genetic study on pigmentation will improve our understanding of diseases like melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer,” said lead author Tim Spector, Professor at King’s College London.

Moreover, the findings, published in the journal Nature Genetics, are also relevant for forensic sciences, the researchers said.

“Finding these new hair colour genes is also important for further increasing the accuracy of hair colour prediction from DNA traces in future forensic applications, which can help to find unknown perpetrators of crime,” explained co-lead author Manfred Kayser Professor at the Erasmus University Rotterdam in Netherlands.

Also Read: Nine new osteoarthritis genes discovered

For the study, the team analysed DNA data from almost 300,000 people of European descent, together with their self-reported hair colour information.

The results showed that, when it comes to European ancestry, nature prefers blonde women and brunette men.

“We found that women have significantly fairer hair than men, which reflects how important cultural practices and sexual preferences are in shaping our genes and biology,” Spector said.  IANS

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