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
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.