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DOST launches Philippine Genome Center

MANILA, Nov. 29 -– Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo on Monday night led the launch of the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) in Makati City.

Montejo said 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."

He said the center 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.

PGC’s five programs cover agriculture, health, biodiversity for drug discovery and bioenergy, forensics and ethnicity, and social, legal, and ethical issues, Padilla revealed.

PGC executive director Dr. Carmen Padilla said the core of the PGC will be plant genetics and breeding laboratories and facilities at the Institute of Plant Breeding of University of the Philippines-Los Banos (Laguna).

For her part, Padilla admitted that PGC will require a lot of hard work and capital, but she asserted that a lot more can be gained.

“If you know how to use it (resources) wisely, the returns are actually huge,” she said on the outputs of researches on genomics.

The Department of Science and Technology (DoST) has initially provided funding to support PGC health research efforts and considers genomics as one of its priority programs.

In the field of health genomic, research and development (R&D) will focus more on the development of diagnostic kits for commonly-encountered diseases.

This effort leads to a "Filipinized personal medicine" that addresses unique conditions of Filipinos in infectious, lifestyle, and cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.

Also in the pipeline are functional and designer foods that can treat ailments, molecular marker studiers, deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA fingerprinting, novel enzymes development, sustainable drug discovery, and bio-energy production, among others.

Another important activity in the country will be the Human Genome Project which will provide important information on the Filipino identity. (PNA) DCT/JCA

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