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Geneticists have now succeeded in developing a new strain of bacterium possessing a DNA, in which thymine is replaced by the synthetic building block 5-chlorouracil (c), a substance toxic for other organisms, opening avenues for artificial evolution of new kind of organisms. Transgenic soybean plants with a foreign gene were produced with increased amount of protein in the plant’s seed, a promise to meet the nutritional needs of a hungry world. It is also discovered that the flow of genes among plant population may help living things better adapt to climate change, especially those most affected by global warming.

On the other hand, a technique called genome editing that points at the precise location of mutated DNA has helped scientists treat the blood clotting disorder hemophilia in mice. This is the first time that genome editing, which precisely targets and repairs a genetic defect, has been performed in a living animal, achieving clinically meaningful results. Umapathy Shankarkumar, Devaraj J Parasannavar and Kanjaksha Ghosh M D in their paper, “HLA-B*07 Alleles in B27 Negative Spondarthritides Patients from Mumbai, Western India” have revealed that HLA-B*0702, B*0706 alleles may play a significant role in the development of B27 negative Spondarthritides (SpA), a group of inflammatory disorders which share certain clinical features and an association with the HLA-B27 allele.

The paper, “Prediction of Fish Growth Rate and Food Availability in the Himalayan Waterbodies by Estimation of RNA/DNA Ratios”, by G K Sivaraman, A Barat, S Ali and P C Mahanta is an attempt to predict the growth rate of fishes based on RNA/DNA ratios, wherein it has proved to be a reliable estimator of real-time growth and the nutritional status of fish larvae and juvenile fish, and it is an indicator of the protein-synthesizing capacity of a cell.

The authors, Ananth A, Lakshman K, Rajasekaran P E and Ravish B S in their paper,“In Vitro Propagation Celastrus paniculatus Willd., a Threatened Medicinal Plant”, have demonstrated that tissue culture method is suitable for plant regeneration and in vitro conservation of C. paniculatus. The nodal explants could be successfully employed for the mass multiplication and shoot regeneration in culture media consisting of MS+1.0 mg/L BAP+5%CW and culture media consisting of half strength MS+0.5 mg/L NAA for in vitro rooting of C. paniculatus—an endangered medicinal plant. It is a means for germplasm conservation and large-scale propagation.

The next paper, “Selection of Flower Buds and Carbon Source for Anther Culture in Melon (Cucumis melo)”, by A K M A Islam, Shuji Misoo and Takeshige Ishii shows that flower and anther size reduces with increase in the age of the donor plant. In the early flowering stage, plant produces larger flowers than at later stages. Among the three polysaccharides, lactose showed good effect on pollen division. The anther cultured in lactose supplemented MS medium produced the highest number of living anther per plate, number of living pollen per anther and dividing pollen per anther. Maltose supplemented MS medium showed moderate performance and sucrose the lowest for all parameters studied.

The authors, Rajesh Kumar, s k sethi, r k arya and ashwani Kumar in their paper, “Effect of cha on Morphological Characters in Wheat (Triticum aestivum l.)”, show that the plant height of Chemical Hybridizing Agent (CHA) treated lines was significantly shorter. Reduction in plant height was mainly due to reduction in peduncle length in all the genotypes. Germination of outcrossed seed showed reduced germination percentage than the control. Reduced germination could be due to seed shriveling, a phytotoxic effect of CHA.

The authors, Kusum, Manjula Vasudeva, Neeru Narula, Sapna and R K Behl in their paper, “Studies on Wheat-Azotobacter Interactions Under Green House Conditions”, have revealed six genetically diverse varieties of wheat (Triticum aestivum L. em. Thell) inoculated with two strains of Azotobacter chroococcum, namely, Mac27 and HT-54 to evaluate the differential response of wheat varieties to the inoculated strains on plant growth attributes under green house condition. Pot experiment with different levels of nitrogen fertilizers was analyzed in RBD for plant height, seed yield, and total nitrogen content and total biomass. Variety C-306 showed the best response towards both the strains of A. chroococcum, whereas strain Mac-27 showed better response as compared to HT-54.

The authors, Rashmi M and Savitha K of the paper, “Isolation of a Congo Red Degrading Bacillus Species from the Effluent of a Textile Industry in Bangalore”, have isolated and characterized a Bacillus species from the industrial effluent of textile industry in Bangalore that was heavily contaminated with congo red along with other azodyes, which is a remedy for biodegradation.

The author, Viroj Wiwanitkit of the last paper, “Kartagener’s Syndrome: A Summary of Thai Cases” has presented a case study of the syndrome, a rare pulmonary problem in Thailand, reported for the first time in 1963, and there have been only a few reports since then. The possible causes might be improper diagnosis by Thai practitioners due to the rarity of the syndrome.

-- V Venugopal Rao
Consulting Editor

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Automated Teller Machines (ATMs): The Changing Face of Banking in India

Bank Management
Information and communication technology has changed the way in which banks provide services to its customers. These days the customers are able to perform their routine banking transactions without even entering the bank premises. ATM is one such development in recent years, which provides remote banking services all over the world, including India. This paper analyzes the development of this self-service banking in India based on the secondary data.

The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is playing a very important role in the progress and advancement in almost all walks of life. The deregulated environment has provided an opportunity to restructure the means and methods of delivery of services in many areas, including the banking sector. The ICT has been a focused issue in the past two decades in Indian banking. In fact, ICTs are enabling the banks to change the way in which they are functioning. Improved customer service has become very important for the very survival and growth of banking sector in the reforms era. The technological advancements, deregulations, and intense competition due to the entry of private sector and foreign banks have altered the face of banking from one of mere intermediation to one of provider of quick, efficient and customer-friendly services. With the introduction and adoption of ICT in the banking sector, the customers are fast moving away from the traditional branch banking system to the convenient and comfort of virtual banking. The most important virtual banking services are phone banking, mobile banking, Internet banking and ATM banking. These electronic channels have enhanced the delivery of banking services accurately and efficiently to the customers. The ATMs are an important part of a banks alternative channel to reach the customers, to showcase products and services and to create brand awareness. This is reflected in the increase in the number of ATMs all over the world. ATM is one of the most widely used remote banking services all over the world, including India. This paper analyzes the growth of ATMs of different bank groups in India.
International Scenario

If ATMs are largely available over geographically dispersed areas, the benefit from using an ATM will increase as customers will be able to access their bank accounts from any geographic location. This would imply that the value of an ATM network increases with the number of available ATM locations, and the value of a bank network to a customer will be determined in part by the final network size of the banking system. The statistical information on the growth of branches and ATM network in select countries.

Indian Scenario

The financial services industry in India has witnessed a phenomenal growth, diversification and specialization since the initiation of financial sector reforms in 1991. Greater customer orientation is the only way to retain customer loyalty and withstand competition in the liberalized world. In a market-driven strategy of development, customer preference is of paramount importance in any economy. Gone are the days when customers used to come to the doorsteps of banks. Now the banks are required to chase the customers; only those banks which are customercentric and extremely focused on the needs of their clients can succeed in their business today.

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Genetics & Evolution