Genetics Week 2016: From DNA to Olympic Gold

by Joana Cruz (Cyclosome)

With the theme “Sports Genetics: Demystifying the Strength of the DNAthlete," The UPLB Genetics Society (GeneSoc) will feature Sports Genetics on its 33rd year to divulge the connection of genetics and individual athleticism. It aims to explain that athleticism is more than just a product of environment and mental discipline but also of the interaction and expression of our genes.

According to scientists, there are about 200 genes that are linked to our physical performance and that their expression also depend on the presence of other genes. This is observable in the ACTN3 gene, the "speed and power gene," which has the R and X alleles. The R allele triggers the expression of the speed gene while its absence inhibits its expression. Moreover, heightened athleticism is not solely attributed to genome organization; it can also be influenced by gene mutations which according to scientists occur alongside with evolution.
Sports genetics evolved and diversified through time and its concept emphasizes that we can all be athletically-inclined; that we can be like the runners, swimmers and athletes we idolize; that we can be one of those who will take home an Olympic gold.

This year’s Genetics Week includes the National Intercollegiate Genetics Quiz Contest, Hope Intervention: One Gene, One Child, GENEWS launching, IQlympics Quiz Contest, Digital Collage Contest, Seminar and Eating Contest.

The National Intercollegiate Genetics Quiz Contest (NIGQC) is an annual quiz competition which aims to promote and create awareness on the science of Genetics. It is open to all undergraduate students from colleges and universities throughout the country. This year, NIGQC highlights Genetics in Agriculture with the theme “Breed and Transform: Genetics and Agriculture Towards Food Security and Sustainability."

Hope Intervention: One Gene, One Child is an annual outreach program which aims to promote awareness and understanding about autism and encourage various groups and individuals to support the HOPE Intervention Center in Calamba, the first and only public school for children with autism in the Philippines. This year, the young beneficiaries of the program will yet again experience a span of activities that extend the love and warmth within GeneSoc.

The IQlympics Quiz Contest, dubbed as the most brain-draining general quiz contest, is an annual quiz contest open to all UPLB students. It aims to test the participant’s abstract and inductive reasoning, photographic memory, verbal skills, logic and knowledge in general events and happenings in our society. 

The Digital Collage Contest, on the other hand, aims to showcase the students’ creativity and understanding about the science of Genetics in relation to other fields. For this year, the contest will feature Sports Genetics.

Lastly, a Seminar on Genetics in Sports will be featured during the week-long celebration, highlighting gene doping, the makings of a champion athlete and the genetics of performance with Professor Hercules Callanta of the College of Human Kinetics at University of the Philippines Diliman (UP CHK) as the speaker.

Genetics Week will last from November 5 until November 11.  


Joana Marie Cruz is a junior BS Biology major in Cell and Molecular Biology student in UPLB. She intends to pursue medical school upon graduation. Aside from writing for Genews, she also blogs and writes short stories and poems. She is currently an Education Committe member of The UPLB Genetics Society.

You may contact her through and visit her blog at