GeneSoc’s NIGQC 2017 draws to a close; BulSU emerges as the winner

NIGQC 2017. Contestants, judges, quiz masters, and GeneSoc members gather on the center stage for a final photo marking the conclusion of the National Intercollegiate Genetics Quiz Contest 2017

LOS BANOS, LAGUNA – With the theme “Mapping Molecular Traces: Decoding Forensic Mysteries through Modern Genetic Breakthroughs”, the 8th National Intercollegiate Genetics Quiz Contest (NIGQC) finally kicked off last November 4 at the Umali Auditorium of SEARCA in the University of the Philippines-Los Banos (UPLB).

This year, the NIGQC tackled the science of Forensic Genetics and its application in solving crimes and carrying out investigations.

NIGQC 2017 Champion: Bulacan State University
Bulacan State University was declared the champion of this year’s NIGQC with a score of 199.83 points. Miriam College came in second garnering a total of 197.67 points. The 3rd placer of the competition is Pamantsan ng Lungsod ng Maynila which obtained a score of 192.67 points.

The contestants from the Bulacan State University were Adrian Renz R. Pineda, Roxanne C. Sevilla, and Joseph E. Jamon. They were accompanied by their coach, Ms. Ernalin P. Bastante. Together, they were given the Certificate of Recognition for winning the “8th NIGQC Champion” title for their school.

NIGQC Top Scorer: Bianca Mae Pangilinan
In the individual examination termed the Synapsis Round, Bianca Mae Pangilinan of the University of the Philippines-Manila emerged as the top scorer of this year’s quiz contest.

The program of the 8th NIGQC opened up with a doxology and the singing of the Philippine National Anthem by Ms. Rodee Anne Kate O. Magpantay, a 4th year BS Biology student.

Prof. Mark F. Rabena during his Opening Remarks
Afterwards, Prof. Mark F. Rabena of the Environmental Biology Division of IBS in UPLB and the Junior Adviser of The UPLB Genetics Society welcomed the participants and their coaches in his opening remarks. He noted in his speech the importance of the competition in showcasing the science and application of Genetics.

Next to this came the Lecture Seminar. With her talk entitled, “Forensic Science in Challenging Environments: The Philippine Experience”, Dr. Maria Corazon De Ungria, Head of the DNA Analysis Laboratory of the NSRI-UPD spoke about the challenges of applying forensics in our country.

Dr. Maria Corazon De Ungria during her talk on forensics
In her talk, she emphasized how forensic genetics could be used as a tool to provide justice for those who are oppressed and put the guilty behind bars.

At noon time, The UPLB Street Jazz Dance Company performed an intermission number where they dazzled the crowd through their excellent hip-hop dance performance.

Next to this was the much awaited Dogma Round – the contest proper of the NIGQC.

DOGMA ROUND. Contestants are on a fiery competition
during the 3 rounds of the contest.
In the Dogma round, there were there levels, namely: Initiation, Elongation and Termination. (The terms coincide with the three phases in replication, transcription and translation).

During this two-hour long round, the contestants battled it out and tried to get a high score before the last round commences.

After this came the Genetic Drift Round where contestants used multipliers that have either drastically increased or decreased their scores depending on whether or not they got the correct answer. (This round exemplifies the phenomenon of genetic drift wherein the number of genes in a very small population fluctuate drastically over generations).

The quiz masters for this event were: Prof. Jickerson P. Lado and Prof. Riaflor M. Alcabedos of the Genetics and Molecular Biology Division of IBS in UPLB.

The judges of the 8th NIGQC were: Dr. Hayde F. Galvez, a Professor in the Institute of Plant Breeding in UPLB, Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, the Crop Breeding Manager of the East-West Seed Company, and Ms. Jazelyn M. Salvador, a University Research Associate and Senior DNA Analyst.

In this year’s competition, questions in the Dogma and Genetic Drift Round were taken from various fields of genetics (i.e. Cytogenetics, Molecular Genetics, Biotechnology, Human Genetics, etc.) that relate to forensic science.

This is in relation to the theme of the 8th NIGQC which delves into Forensic Genetics – the field of genetics that uses modern DNA technology to solve crimes and provide aid for investigations.

After the brain-draining Dogma round, the UP Silakbo performed three serenades that soothed the minds of the participants.

GeneSoc President Ms. Rozel B. Razal during her
 Closing Remarks
Then, during the closing remarks, the president of The UPLB Genetics Society, Rozel B. Razal, thanked the participating schools for coming to the event not just for the title but also for the learning that they could obtain through the competition.

The 13 participating schools of this year’s NIGQC were the following: Ateneo De Manila University, Ateneo De Zamboanga University, Bulacan State University, De La Salle-Lipa, Far Eastern University-Manila, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Sta. Mesa, Southern Luzon State University, University of San Agustin, University of the Philippines-Baguio, University of the Philippines-Manila, University of the Philippines Cebu, Xavier University- Ateneo De Cagayan, and Miriam College.

Leann F. Suiton, the NIGQC Steering Committee Head, hopes that the contestants were able to see genetics in a different way – that its applications in various fields- such as in forensic science are endless and that...our knowledge on this field can be an advantage for us to take another leap in criminal investigation...”

May this be an inspiration for them to appreciate genetics more and to pursue forensic genetics in the future so that they can be an instrument in giving light to unsolved crimes of our country”, she adds.
The 8th NIGQC would like to thank the following sponsors: Bonito’s Restaurant, Eatsumo Teri Haus, Newborn Screening Reference Center, Signeffex, The Plumber’s Kitchen; its media partner, When In Manila; and it co-presenters, DOST-PCAARRD and DOST-PCIEERD.

For more information about NIGQC, you can visit the following websites: