Quiz 611: Science & Technology for UPSC Civil Services Examinations

1. Which among the following is the edible part in Rice?

It’s a very common question but can confuse many of you. Most of the essential micronutrients are almost exclusively stored in the husk, aleurone and embryo of rice, which are removed during the polishing process. Polishing of rice is required as the oil-rich aleurone layer turns the seed rancid upon storage and therefore making rice unsuitable for consumption. Consequently, the rice endosperm that comprises the edible part of rice for humans lacks or contains only small amount of key micronutrients (e.g., iron, zinc, protein, provitamin A, and other vitamins) that are essential for a healthy diet. Considering the facts above and severity of widespread micronutrient malnutrition, iron biofortification in rice endosperm is a promising strategy to overcome iron deficiency effectively.

2. In context with computers, what can be the uses of cookies?
1. Maintain Information
2. Run a programme
3. Deliver a Virus
Choose the correct option:
[A]Only 1
[B]1 & 2
[C]2 & 3
[D]1, 2 & 3

Only 1
A cookie is a text string that is included with Hypertext Transfer Protocol requests and responses. Cookies are used to maintain information as you navigate different pages on a website or return to the website at a later time. Cookies cannot be used to run code (programmes) or deliver viruses to your computer. One of their primary purposes is to provide a convenience feature that you can use to save time — it tells the web server that you have returned to the page. If you personalize web pages or register for products and services, a cookie helps the page server recall your specific information, like billing address, shipping address.

3. How does calcium carbide ripen mangoes?
[A]It reacts with moisture and releases Ethylene
[B]It reacts with moisture and releases Ethyne
[C]It reacts with moisture and releases Acetaldehyde, which in turn releases ethylene
[D]It reacts with starch and releases Acetylene

It reacts with moisture and releases Ethyne For reasons of safe transportation of fruits, mangoes, bananas etc are picked before they ripen fully. Slightly green harvested mangoes are subjected to small containers of calcium carbide (CaC2) with a plastic covering. CaC2 reacts with the moisture in the air to release acetylene (or ethyne) gas as follows:
CaC2 + 2 H2O → C2H2 + Ca(OH)2
This option may give you slightest confusion if you don’t know the difference between Ethylene and Ethyne (Acetylene). Both are chemical substances produced by fruits to accelerate the normal process of fruit maturation — is a ripening hormone. Ethylene is C2H4 and has a carbon-carbon double bond. Acetylene is C2H2 and has a carbon-carbon triple bind. Acetylene contains more energy and burns hotter than ethylene. Ethylene is a gaseous compound , Acetylene is the chemical compound , which is the simplest alkyne and is also a hydrocarbon while Ethylene is the simplest alkene and classified as an unsaturated hydrocarbon. I hope you will never forget it now.

4. Consider the following statements about Cloud Computing:
1. It is a service that is generally offered by a third party
2. It includes only Software and not hardware
3. It is generally offered on one to one basis
Which among the above statements is/ are correct?
[A]1 & 2
[B]1 & 3
[C]Only 1
[D]1, 2 & 3

Only 1
Cloud computing with reference to IT is a service generally offered by a third party — typically a Technology Services Provider — and offered on subscription basis by leveraging the internet. The key proposition is to move away from expensive, capex heavy, on-premises options to affordable, cost- efficient arrangements that are offered on a one-to-many basis. It is a misperception that cloud computing refers to only software; it includes hardware as a service enabling computing on demand.

5. What are the basic premises of Software Entropy?
1. A computer program that is used will be modified
2. When a program is modified, its complexity will increase, provided that one does not actively work against this.
3. It may be better to redesign the software rather than build on the existing programme
Choose the correct option:
[A]Only 1
[B]1 & 2
[C]1, 2 & 3
[D]1 & 3

1, 2 & 3
Entropy means disorder. The tendency, over time, for software to become difficult and costly to maintain is known as software entropy. A software system that undergoes continuous change, like new functionality added to its original design, will eventually become more complex, losing its original design structure, and may even become disorganized as it grows. In theory, it may be better to redesign the software in order to support the changes rather than build on the existing programme.

6. If a person wants to increase the level of good Cholesterol in his / her body, which among the following you would advise?
1. Increase the use of trans fatty acids in diet
2. Stop smoking
3. Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids
Choose the correct option:
[A]1, 2 & 3
[B]Only 1 & 3
[C]Only 2 & 3
[D]Only 3

Only 2 & 3
Trans fats are not essential fatty acids. The consumption of trans fats increases the risk of coronary heart disease by raising levels of LDL cholesterol and lowering levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.

7. Why do the bacteria develop resistance after slowly being exposed to a particular antibiotic?
1. Due to mutation in genes
2. Due to Horizontal Gene Transfer
3. Due to Vertical Gene Transfer
Choose the correct option:
[A]Only 1
[B]Only 1 & 2
[C]Only 2 & 3
[D]1, 2 & 3

Only 1 & 2
This is very carefully framed question and would clear the concept of antibiotic resistance, Horizontal Gene Transfer and Vertical Gene Transfer. Antibiotic resistance occurs from random mutations, the first choice given is correct. The slow exposure to an antibiotic will give more chance for mutations to occur. Most antibiotics are derived from naturally derived from organisms, penicillin was derived from the mould Penicillium, other antibiotics have also been extracted from bacteria, and these bacteria will be resistant to that antibiotic. The Horizontal Gene Transfer is considered to be the main culprit of the antibiotic resistance. Horizontal gene transfer (HGT), also lateral gene transfer (LGT), is any process in which an organism incorporates genetic material from another organism without being the offspring of that organism. By contrast, vertical transfer occurs when an organism receives genetic material from its ancestor, e.g., its parent or a species from which it has evolved. Horizontal gene transfer is also the primary reason for bacterial antibiotic resistance and this often involves plasmids. Genes that are responsible for antibiotic resistance in one species of bacteria can be transferred to another species of bacteria through various mechanisms. The resistance spreads across bacterial species usually by transfer of genetic material via a vector, this vector tends to be a circular piece of genetic material known as a plasmid. Operons within the plasmid code for several genes, a combination of proteins including an enzyme which is able to deactivate antibiotics, for example beta-lactamase is an enzyme which cleaves beta-lactam rings, deactivating penicillin and its derivatives (although certain derivatives like methicillin are resistant to beta lactamases). Sequences within plasmids that can transfer to the cell’s own genetic material is known as a transposon.
The third choice “vertical gene transfer’ is not correct. Vertical Gene Transfer means reproduction.

8. Which among the following higher mammals has been shown to hibernate?
[C]Black Bear
[D]Rhesus Monkey

Black Bear

9. Which among the following is not among Micronutrients required for plants?

In order for a plant to grow and thrive, it needs a number of different chemical elements. The most important are:
Carbon, hydrogen and oxygen – Available from air and water and therefore in plentiful supply
Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium (a.k.a. potash) – The three macronutrients and the three elements you find in most packaged fertilizers
Sulfur, calcium, and magnesium – Secondary nutrients
Boron, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum and zinc – Micronutrients

10. What does the word “Synthia” refer to in context with a recent discovery / invention?
[A]A plant cell
[B]A red blood cell
[C]A bacteria
[D]A fungus

A bacteria
Synthia refers to the “Mycoplasma laboratorium”. It was announced researchers had developed world’s first living cell controlled by synthetic DNA. The organism nicknamed “Synthia” is controlled by what the group calls “genetic software”. It was done at J. Craig Venter Institute by a team of approximately twenty scientists headed by Nobel laureate Hamilton Smith, and including DNA researcher Craig Venter and icrobiologist Clyde A. Hutchison III.

Part of Mock Test Series 2012 for Prelims GS
© Suresh Soni 2011-12

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