The Hindu Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : Reverse Transcriptase

 GS-3 Mains Exam : Science and Technology

Revision Notes



Questions : Discuss the significance of reverse transcriptase in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. How has this enzyme enhanced the accuracy and efficiency of viral detection and surveillance?

Basic Concept Part-1

Feature DNA RNA
Full Name Deoxyribonucleic Acid Ribonucleic Acid
Function Stores genetic information, blueprint for all genetic information Carries genetic information for protein synthesis, transfers information from DNA
Structure Double-stranded helix Single-stranded (usually)
Sugar Deoxyribose Ribose
Bases Adenine (A), Guanine (G), Cytosine (C), Thymine (T) Adenine (A), Guanine (G), Cytosine (C), Uracil (U)
Location Nucleus (primarily) and mitochondria Nucleus, cytoplasm, ribosomes
Stability More stable, resistant to damage Less stable, prone to degradation
Length Very long (chromosomes) Shorter than DNA
Modification Less frequent modifications Can be heavily modified (e.g., tRNA, rRNA)
Examples Chromosomes, genes Messenger RNA (mRNA), transfer RNA (tRNA), ribosomal RNA (rRNA)


Additional Points:

  • DNA replication: DNA can be copied to create identical copies for cell division. RNA cannot replicate on its own.
  • Transcription: RNA is synthesized from DNA to carry the genetic code to ribosomes for protein synthesis.
  • Translation: The genetic code in mRNA is translated by ribosomes into amino acid sequences to build proteins.


Basic Concept Part-2

SARS-CoV-2, also known as SARS-2, is a single-stranded RNA virus that causes COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019). It belongs to a family of viruses that can infect humans and animals.

The virus is particularly contagious and spreads through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms can range from mild (fever, cough) to severe (pneumonia, breathing difficulties) and can even be fatal.

Understanding the structure and function of SARS-2 is crucial for developing vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments for COVID-19.



Context: The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of reverse transcriptase, an enzyme crucial for detecting the SARS-2 virus.

  • Function in Diagnostics:
    • Reverse transcriptase is used in gold-standard techniques for COVID-19 testing.
    • It facilitates rapid and accurate testing.
    • In combination with genome sequencing, it helps track viral spread for better surveillance, public health measures, and vaccine development.
  • Scientific Revolution:
    • The discovery of reverse transcriptase challenged the “Central Dogma” which stated information flow only from DNA to RNA to protein.
    • It revealed the possibility of RNA generating DNA.
  • Impact:
    • Revolutionized molecular biology research methods:
      • Creation of DNA copies from RNA for studying gene function.
    • Transformed diagnostics:
      • Enabled conversion of RNA to DNA for estimating viral load in samples.
      • Became widely used for studying RNA viruses like Hepatitis B and HIV.
    • Significantly impacted HIV management:
      • Led to the development of antiviral drugs targeting reverse transcriptase.
      • Converted a deadly disease into a manageable one, improving survival rates for people with AIDS.
    • Provided insights into viral replication mechanisms.

Retroelements in Human Genome:

  • Retroviruses leave behind “retroelements” during evolution.
  • These were once thought to be junk DNA but may play a role in human biology.
  • New research suggests a link between retroelement expression and neuropsychiatric diseases.

Reverse Transcriptases: A Common Thread

  • Reverse transcriptase (RT) is found in both bacteria and humans.
  • It shares a common evolutionary history and similar functions across life forms.
  • Bacterial RT may be the precursor to the human version.

Klebsiella pneumoniae’s Defense Mechanism:

  • When infected by viruses (bacteriophages), Klebsiella uses a special RNA molecule.
  • This RNA binds to RT and creates DNA with a specific protein-coding gene.
  • This protein (Neo) halts bacterial replication, stalling the virus too.

Future Implications:

  • Understanding RT could lead to advancements in:
    • Fighting antibiotic resistance.
    • Developing new therapies.
    • Creating novel biotech tools.
    • Understanding genetic evolution and viral resistance.


The Hindu Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : Nation Building

 GS-2 Mains Exam : Polity

Revision Notes


Nation Building

  • New government needs to be inclusive for national development.
  • Current government criticized for:
  • Nation Building: A complex process requiring societal collaboration for holistic development and prosperity.
  • Inclusive Governance: The new government must adopt constructive, inclusive policies to ensure progress across all social segments.
  • Social Divisions: Critics argue BJP policies have sometimes deepened religious and caste divides.
  • Economic Slowdown: Periods of economic deceleration under BJP raised concerns about job creation, investment, and growth. India’s GDP growth fell from 8.2% in FY2017 to 4.2% in FY2020 (World Bank).
  • Farmers’ Protests: Agricultural reforms sparked protests; critics claim policies favored corporates over farmers, leading to widespread unrest.
  • Environmental Concerns: Critics highlight policies prioritizing economic growth over environmental sustainability, exacerbating issues like deforestation, air pollution, and climate adaptation. India’s Air Quality Index (AQI) frequently surpasses 200 (unhealthy level) in major cities like Delhi.

Social Cohesion Strategies:

  • Cultural Exchange: Promote understanding and harmony between communities.
  • Inclusive Representation: Ensure diverse voices in government.
  • Quality Education: Invest in education for all, regardless of background.
  • Inclusive Curriculum: Teach tolerance, empathy, and respect for diversity.
  • Economic Equity: Address income inequality and empower marginalized communities.
  • Support for SMEs: Help minority, women, and disadvantaged businesses succeed.
  • Legal Protections: Strengthen laws safeguarding the rights of all citizens.
  • Fight Discrimination: Combat prejudice through awareness and strong anti-discrimination measures.
  • Community Partnerships: Work with civil society and leaders for inclusive decision-making.
  • Balanced Infrastructure: Develop projects that benefit all regions and bridge urban-rural divides.

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