Genome center to open at UPLB

Written by Helen Flores 
The Philippine Star, November 11, 2011

MANILA, Philippines - The government is set to launch the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) on Nov. 28 as part of its efforts to boost the country’s agriculture sector.

PGC executive director Carmen Padilla said the PGC, the first of its kind in the country, will work on basic research that has strong applications on Philippine commodities, including traditional crops and biotechnology products, pharmaceuticals, forensics and other issues of social and economic impact.

“The core of the PGC will be plant genetics and breeding laboratories and facilities at the Institute of Plant Breeding of UPLB,” Padilla said in a statement.

Padilla said the PGC is envisioned to be a “world-class center of excellence in gene discovery and genomics research that effectively translates knowledge into applications beneficial to society.” Genome refers to the complete set of genetic material of an organism. PGC’s five programs cover agriculture, health, biodiversity for drug discovery and bioenergy, forensics and ethnicity, and social, legal, and ethical issues, Padilla said.

Rita Laude, UPLB vice chancellor for research and extension of UPLB and director for the agriculture program of PGC, said crop genomics, particularly in abaca, saba and pili will be a priority of PGC’s agriculture program. The three crops, she said, are endemic to the Philippines.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) initially provided funding to support PGC’s health research efforts and considers genomics as one of its priority programs. The Department of Agriculture-Biotechnology Program Office also provides research funds for ongoing crop genomics studies.

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