SEARCA BIC Joins the Celebration of the 14th National Biotechnology Week

With the theme, Pambansang Hamon, Pambansang Solusyon (Our Nation’s Challenge, Our Nation’s Solution), the ongoing 14th National Biotechnology Week (NBW) serves as a platform to highlight the contributions of biotechnology in agriculture and food security, equitable health care services, development of industries and business enterprises, sustainable environment, and economic development, among others.

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SEARCA BIC Organizes 3rd Agri-biotech Boot Camp for Senior High School Students

Eighteen senior high school students and their teachers from seven provinces (Laguna, Pampanga, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Agusan del Norte, Iloilo, and Leyte) in the Philippines were selected to represent their respective schools at the Agri-biotech Boot Camp organized by the SEARCA Biotechnology Information Center (SEARCA BIC) on November 6-8, 2018.

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The participants of the 3rd Agri-biotech Boot Camp together with National Scientist Dr. Dolores Ramirez (second row, eigth from left) and members of UP LABS and UP GRAINS (second row, seated)

For the first day of the boot camp, the participants were oriented on several topics such as edible landscaping; applications of biotechnology in crops and livestock; Simple Nutrient Addition Program (SNAP) Hydroponics; and SEARCA’s initiatives in Farm Tourism and the School and Home Gardens Project.

 

They also visited various research and development institutions in UP Los Baños on their second day. Their first stop was for a tour of UPLB’s National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. The participants then proceeded to the International Research Institute (IRRI), where they were introduced to IRRI’s projects on rice varieties. Last on their itinerary was a visit to the UPLB Institute of Plant Breeding. Another highlight of Day 2 was the hands-on workshop session on DNA extraction using household chemicals. It sparked the interest of the participants as this was their first time performing the experiment.

 

 

On the third and last day of the Boot Camp, The UP League of Agricultural Biotechnology Students and the UP Genetic Researchers and Agricultural Innovators Society conducted interactive games which tested the participants’ knowledge on agri-biotech and gave them a chance to bond with their teammates.

 

Lance Dominic Tria, a student from the Philippine Science High School – Southern Mindanao Campus spoke in behalf of the students. “I hope we can apply the lessons we learned here in whatever field we go into. Even if I don’t end up pursuing an agriculture course in college, I hope that in whatever I take, I’ll still be able to help the people working for agriculture because in the end, agriculture will not disappear and people will always need food,” he said.

The agri-biotech boot camp, which is SEARCA BIC’s build-up activity for the annual National Biotechnology Week, aims to create awareness of agriculture, introduce traditional technologies and biotechnology used in agriculture, and build interest among high school students and consider agriculture, specifically biotechnology, as a career.

– Danellie Joy O. Medina, SEARCA-BIC

 

Pakistan, China Sign MoU for Agricultural Enhancement

The Ministry for Planning, Development and Reform on Friday informed the National Assembly that Pakistan and China have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to cooperate in the agriculture sector.

The ministry in a written reply said the government attached great importance to cooperation in the agriculture sector with China under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Image Credit: www.corridor.pk
Image Credit: www.corridor.pk

According to the MoU, both the countries will conduct joint research on conventional and genetically modified varieties of seed breeding, precision agriculture, biotechnology and biological application for disease and pest control. Both countries will also collaborate in the technology of pre and post-harvest storage and processing.

Pakistan and China will cooperate in the field of water conservation and management through the use of water efficient technologies. Both countries will encourage investment in agriculture infrastructure for sustainable food systems.

 

Originally published in Pakistan Today Profit. See original article link here.

Leyte Farmers, Local Officials Briefed on Philippine Biosafety Regulations

“The greatest resource of a nation is its people. We consider our farmers as our jewels in Leyte.”

Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla welcomes speakers and participants to the Biotech 101 and Joint Department Circular (JDC) Public Briefing held at the Oriental Hotel in Tacloban City on October 26, 2018. (Image Credit: SEARCA BIC)
Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla welcomes speakers and participants to the Biotech 101 and Joint Department Circular (JDC) Public Briefing held at the Oriental Hotel in Tacloban City on October 26, 2018. (Image Credit: SEARCA BIC)

With this, Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla of Leyte welcomed more than 150 farmers and officials of selected municipalities in Leyte to the Biotech 101 and Joint Department Circular (JDC) Public Briefing held at the Oriental Hotel in Tacloban City on October 26, 2018. Governor Petilla said that the objectives of the activity were aligned with the local government’s thrust of improving the province’s economy through agriculture. “Science is good if we use it wisely for the benefit of the people,” he added.

Dr. Edgardo Tulin, President of Visayas State University discusses the food and environmental safety issues of biotech crops. (Image Credit: SEARCA BIC)
Dr. Edgardo Tulin, President of Visayas State University discusses the food and environmental safety issues of biotech crops. (Image Credit: SEARCA BIC)

Experts from the Institute of Plant Breeding – University of the Philippines Los Baños (IPB-UPB), Philippine Genome Center (PGC), and Visayas State University (VSU) oriented the participants on the science of biotechnology, food and environmental safety of genetically modified (GM) crops, and biotech products in the pipeline. Representatives from the Departments of Health, Agriculture, Science and Technology, and Interior and Local Government were also on hand to discuss the JDC guidelines and address questions from the audience.

 

Mr. Charles Anthony Vega, Local Government Operations Officer III from DILG explains the significance of public participation in the approval process of biotech crops. (Image Credit: SEARCA BIC)
Mr. Charles Anthony Vega, Local Government Operations Officer III from DILG explains the significance of public participation in the approval process of biotech crops. (Image Credit: SEARCA BIC)

Among the concerns raised during the open forum was the rigid biotech regulatory process in the country, which the experts explained was crucial in ensuring the safety of GM crops released in the market. The participants were also eager to promote the adaption GM crops in their province through a signature campaign and are now discussing the matter with the Department of Agriculture (DA) officials in the region.

The activity was organized by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), DA-Biotechnology Program Office, and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture – Biotechnology Information Center (SEARCA BIC) in coordination with DA Regional Field Office 8.

– Danellie Joy O. Medina, SEARCA-BIC

The panel addresses queries from the audience. From left: Ms. Zyrine Lorizo (DA-BPI), Mr. Charles Anthony Vega (DILG), Ms. Julieta Fe L. Estacio, Head Secretariat of the National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines, and Engr. Rolando Santiago, Supervising Health Program Officer from DOH. (Image Credit: SEARCA BIC)
The panel addresses queries from the audience. From left: Ms. Zyrine Lorizo (DA-BPI), Mr. Charles Anthony Vega (DILG), Ms. Julieta Fe L. Estacio, Head Secretariat of the National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines, and Engr. Rolando Santiago, Supervising Health Program Officer from DOH. (Image Credit: SEARCA BIC)

 

Biotechnology to be made a Focus in Vietnam’s S&T Development Scheme

Biotechnology will be promoted in the science and technology development scheme of Việt Nam, contributing to socio-economic development, said Dr. Phan Ngọc Minh, Vice President of the Việt Nam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), at the nationwide biotechnology conference held on Friday in Hà Nội.

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China Reaping Harvest of Agricultural R&D

China is transforming its traditional agriculture sector, using science and technology to drive rural revitalization and modernization.

Delivering a report on the development of China’s agricultural science and technology recently, Tang Huajun, president of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), said remarkable progress has been made in innovation, which has played an important role in ensuring national food security and increasing farmers’ incomes.

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GEAC Approves Field Studies of GM Mustard on Honey Bee

A year after the government put the commercial release of genetically modified (GM) mustard on hold, the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) has approved field studies of GM mustard on honey bee and other pollinations at its recently held 136th meeting.

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Public Briefing on Philippine Biosafety Regulations Held for Camarines Sur Stakeholders

Public Briefing on Philippine Biosafety Regulations Held for Camarines Sur Stakeholders

Around 160 participants composed of farmers, members and officials of selected municipalities in Camarines Sur, and representatives from the academe and non-government organizations were informed on the science of biotechnology, food and environmental safety of genetically modified (GM) crops, biotech products in the pipeline, and the existing biosafety regulatory guidelines in the Philippines during the Biotechnology 101 and Joint Department Circular (JDC) Public Briefing held at Villa Caceres Hotel in Naga City, Camarines Sur on September 26, 2018.

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Faculty and students of CBSUA with the organizers and resource persons. (Image Credit: SEARCA-BIC)

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Blue Roses Could Be Coming Soon To A Garden Near You

For centuries, gardeners have attempted to breed blue roses with no success. But now, thanks to modern biotechnology, the elusive blue rose may finally be attainable. Researchers have found a way to express pigment-producing enzymes from bacteria in the petals of a white rose, tinting the flowers blue. They report their results in ACS Synthetic Biology.

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IRRI’s Los Baños Rice Genebank Set to Receive Permanent Funding

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has set a funding pact with nonprofit organization Crop Trust to conserve and secure the world’s largest rice collection. The agreement guarantees US$ 1.4 million per year for IRRI’s rice genebank in Los Baños, Laguna. The facility, which houses 136,000 varieties of rice, has been called the world’s “largest rice bowl.”

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Federation of Seed Industry of India Bats for GM Variety

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China’s Scientists Observe Plant Growth in its Space Lab

Astronauts need a lot of food during their space expedition that sometimes takes nearly two years. Carrying dried prepackaged food takes up space in their spacecraft.

One solution is to send seeds that occupy less volume to cultivate them in the space. Recently, scientists have successfully grown vegetables and plants in the space shuttles. Read more