Monday, March 22, 2010

This is her style of celebrating Pakistan day........

Today is 23rd March 2010, Pakistan day celebrations and a public holiday in entire country. Everyone(according to me) would at least taken a good sleep because i think we all needed rest as we were tired after a full working Monday. Although some of us celebrated it in their own real way. Here i have one example.

I am working for last 8 months in HEJ research Institute of Chemistry, University of Karachi, for completion of my M.Sc thesis which is now submitted and last processing is running for publishing a research paper. Yasmeen is a P.H.D student in the same lab in which i am working on collaboration. She is in this lab for almost five years and now in hardly six months, she is going to be Dr. Yasmeen.
I always call her a machine, but i know it's a crime i do every time. She comes at 8.30 in the morning, obviously in order to come so early using public transport or HEJ van she has to wake up so early in the morning as she lives far from university area. During my own work in lab i see her walking here and there, handling more than one things at one time, full dedication and devotion, no signs of tiring on her face, all time fresh and smiley. I always surprise on her temperament and determination because research in Pakistan especially in Molecular Biology is not so advanced and managed. Students doing P.H.D have to face certain serious problems and unlike other students, she does everything so properly. Sometimes she needs to go PCMD three times a day in burning sunlight just for running a single PCR reaction because PCR machine of our lab is not working properly. For almost two months split Air conditions of our lab have some problems and every student including me are suffering from the hot environment of the lab. Everyone tries to get rid of this situation by searching any alternate for it even, leaves working for some time. Today when i decided to take a good rest at home, Yasmeen decided to come and continue her work, because she thinks that she can do her work more properly and with full concentration on a holiday, as lab is less crowded and there is peace everywhere in the building on a holiday. She does not want to waste her time as resting at home has nothing to do with her hard work. So, she came today and worked and rest of us rested at home and spent whole day by watching TV, listening National songs or some outing.

So i am right in my decision to call her a machine, because she celebrated Pakistan day in her own style by working and i did it by resting.

As i always wish,"I need holiday, holiday and just holiday".

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ethical Issues In Genetic Engineering......

We have studied Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering in our last semester of Masters in Biochemistry. Despite of all facts that Genetic Engineering gave a lot of new healthy inventions, our course supervisor Dr. Siddiqua Jamal insisted us to write an assignment on the Ethical Issues that Common Men can have because this is most important thing. we searched and worked three weeks, then submitted the assignment. Mine was as normal as it is always(for me), but surprisingly she liked that assignment very much and advised me to share with other people. Although it is Scientifically written, but i tried to make it comprehensible and so i am sharing it with all of you.

In the last forty years as the science of DNA has been developed so far in the fields of biotechnology and genetic engineering, the possibilities of having advantages as well as disadvantages are also being raised. So this is a noteworthy point in today’s research that what could be the beneficial technique and which invention is ethically destructive for the life on the earth. Here we are discussing some of the ethical issues that are being controversial in the whole process of genetic engineering.


Dolly was the first higher animal to be cloned and after that, the research in this field has been reached to the new dimensions. But the ethical issue is that during the process of cloning several controversies are being produced. First the question of the parent animal when the nucleus is taken from a different adult cell where as ovum has come from different animal and then embryo is being carried by a surrogate mother for several months, so who should really own the cloned one. Test tube babies in this sense are ethically not controversial and can be a better choice as compare to cloning until and unless further development in this particular field could be possible and which would be ethically not controversial. Another important thing is that if the cells are being taken from a developing embryo and are going to be used for cloning or stem cells research then embryo is going to lose his life and ethically it is like killing a living thing. Anything that is going to be used for the benefit of human beings but by harming another life would ethically wrong.


For several reasons genetically modified organisms could be beneficial like genetically modified bacteria can be used to cure some viral diseases and can prevent certain very harmful diseases like Hepatitis B. The same micro organisms can be used for several other purposes for example, for consumption of oil from oily and spoiled sea shores using genetic modifications. But at the same time if these modifications are not very précised, could be harmful and can cause danger to the environment and to the human beings also. . However, what is interesting is that in general the natural genetic engineering done by gene exchange between bacteria in the soil or water makes so many different bacteria that are selected to use the toxins for their energy source, and these bacteria are better suited to local environments. So usually by adding fertiliser to a polluted area, the already existing bacteria will be able to grow well and clean up the pollution rather than adding new ones. There is still more research needed, but it shows that in nature if something is already beneficial then by using genetic engineering advantages could be enhanced. Genetically modified or genetically synthesized medicines are now widely used not only for the prevention of several diseases but also for the regulation of certain enzymes and hormones level in the body. These also have to be without any side effect or any other damage to the human health, in this way these would be more beneficial.


Genetically modified food like golden rice could be very beneficial due to the reasons that these are cheaper and contain a high level of vitamins and minerals so in the areas of poverty and large population these foods can provide all nutritional needs of people specially young ones and children. A modification in the taste and quality could make GM food more important. Safety is a major important thing in the production of GM food, adverse health effects should be screened, also it is to remember that these foods should not have any allergic reaction or antibiotic resistance and neither it produce any stress which could make it ethically controversial. Also it is noteworthy that the area in which GM food is being cultivated should not spread that it could disturb the food chain or food cycle, otherwise it can strike with nature. Weeds, herbs and other natural resources are also necessary to maintain this food cycle and ecosystem.


Science is made for the ease and safety of humanity. The purpose of studying and researching in the fields related to science and particularly biotechnology and genetic engineering should be the benefit of humanity neither the destruction nor difficulties. A researcher has to do something to provide other human beings a society full of healthy environment, so every genetically engineered or genetically modified thing would be welcomed by the society if it does not contain any harmful or destructive effects and if it is providing something that is satisfactory for the people also solving problems related to life rather than making them more complicated. Everything that is not harming any naturally occurring thing, neither disturbing the environment nor colliding with rules created by nature should be acceptable for us because it is we, who can change the world only by broadening our thoughts and views.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Obedience or Slavery..........?

Few weeks ago my elder sister went on shopping and when she returned, along with other necessaries, she had a beautiful shawl with green and fawn shades and sensational touch of Pashmina fabric . I just become flattered to see that shawl, it was looking beautiful when my sister put it on. Usually i never take interest in fabrics so much but after seeing such a nice color combination, i didn't forget that one. Indeed, My sister Loved that too and was pleased that her loving Husband will like it.
When she visited us next time, she brought a surprise for me. As i was engaged in telling her about my daily routine work of those days, she suddenly pulled her bag, opened that and put out a packet. I was astonished that what it could be, after taking it in my hand, unpacked and amazed to see the same piece of fabric .
"What??" i just could ask.
"Well, this is for you." she answered me with faint smile and yellow face.
I could not understand for a moment what she was saying, then i tried to solve things.
"What do you mean? You purchased it for yourself, not for me." I started arguing which is my all time habit.
"Well, Yes, but now it is your's." she tried to satisfy me in her low voice.
"Why? just tell me the reason otherwise i am not going to accept it. I know yourself, more than you. The thing that you chooses for yourself, never can give to other even as a gift."
She remained quiet for a little time and then said,"My husband doesn't like this color."
I was not expecting that stupid(according to me) answer."So?"
"What so? Why do you always ask so many questions?"
"Yes i do, because i wanna know that why you all have made your life so difficult?"
"I am trying to make my life easy, not difficult", she explained. "I can not wear it because he and my In-laws did not like this shawl, therefore it's of no use for me. It can be useful for you and i think you liked it."
"Yes i liked it, but never wanted to get it like this." i felt a feeling of anger inside me. "Doesn't this matter for him that which color do you want to wear, which thing you want to eat, what do you like, what do you think, what do you feel? Does anyone of these matter for him?"
"Yes, it matters but......." she could not justify her answer.
"If it matters, then why i am looking a feeling of pain on your face while you are giving it to me?" I could not resist myself to speak, "Why he is trying to impose his thinking on you, you have your own senses. At least you should be able to decide what you should wear and eat. I am fed up with these so called standards of your In-laws."
"You can not understand because you are still not married. Being a wife in this society i have to be obedient. I have to respect his choice to make him happy. My paradise is in his happiness."
My anger reached top of the world, "If marriage takes your freedom away then i am not going to marry at all. And sorry to say, this is not obedience. For me, it's nothing more than slavery. To respect your beloved's choice is different from the respect that one gives being pressurized to respect. I am a human being first then a woman, no one could ever claim any right to take benefit of it. Finally if paradise is being made so cheap in this society, then i will prefer freedom on paradise. I will follow the theory of Mansur Hallaj not of Plato."
I know i was so harsh for a moment, then i realized and got over it, tried to make her happy in any way i could, but this is true i am still in a great feeling of grief inside out.
Woman is responsible to build the future of Nations. I wonder what could a woman give to her child if she is supposed to live like a motionless, thoughtless, senseless thing.
I ask a question,"Can a woman give birth to a free person, if she is spending her life like a slave? Education, Health and other matters are far, if she just not supposed to wear a color of her own choice."
That shawl has been kept in my cupboard for two to three weeks. I haven't decide yet to use it because i never like the beauty if it comes to me in this way.......