Thursday, October 29, 2015

Casposons: Expanding the Gene pool with another Wave

By Liabel Peña (Casposons)

The UPLB Genetics Society welcomes four new sisses from the Second Wave of membership application in the name of Batch Casposons: Liabel Peña, batch leader, is a BS Biology student from Caritas Don Bosco School who formerly participated in Genetics Camp 2012 and 2013; Sandra Reyes is a BS Biology student from Ateneo De Naga who graduated 2nd honor; Bianca Redondo is a BS Biology Ruralite who was the 9th top scorer of the UPRHS (UP Rural High School) Entrance Exam and Katrina Dela Peña, the sole BS MST (Math and Science Teaching) student of Batch Casposons, graduated 2nd honor from Juan Sumulong High School comprises the new addition to the gene pool.

Batch Casposons 
The batch name, Casposons,  is derived from a self-synthesizing mobile genetic element believed to be the missing link to the immunological defense system of prokaryotes, playing a significant role on their repair, defense, metabolism and gene regulation. Each fresh recruit strives to prove their worth in the organization and impart themselves to attain the objectives of the organization and uphold its constitution. Casposons are very much related to transposons, also termed "jumping genes", which are DNA segments essential for gene regulation and immunity. The main difference between these DNA elements is the latter transverses randomly between genes while the former targets particular areas of the genome. The site specific nature mirrors the commitment of the batch to the organization.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

In Focus: 42nd PSBMB Annual Convention and PSBMB-Southern Luzon launch

PSBMB News Release

CEU to host 42nd PSBMB Annual Convention

The Philippine Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (PSBMB), in cooperation with the Graduate School, School of Science and Technology, Biological Sciences, and Physical Sciences Department of Centro Escolar University (CEU)-Manila will host the 42nd Annual Convention with the theme, "OMICS’ Applications in Biomedical, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences", on December 3-4, 2015.

This year’s theme aims to broaden and deepen our current knowledge on the advances in omics and their various applications. Speakers and presenters will include national and international experts in their respective fields.

Among the confirmed concurrent speakers are IBS professor Dr. Maria Claret Lauan who will talk about  the "Identifcation of mouse cytochrome P450 2C Isoforms by 2DE and MALDI-TOF/TOF MS-based Proteomics Approach", and IBS Genetics and Molecular Biology Division Head Dr. Ma. Genaleen Diaz on the "Gene and molecular marker discovery from transcriptomes of coconut, abaca, and saba banana." On the other hand, former IBS professor Dr. Dennis Bela-Ong will give a plenary lecture on "Fish microRNAs in teleost immune response" while NSRI DNA Analysis Laboratory Head Dr. Maria Corazon de Ungria will present about "New technologies in Forensic Genetics." Other names of confirmed speakers and their corresponding talks were released by PSBMB on their official Facebook Page.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

GeneSoc's NIGQC 2015 to feature Medical Genetics

By Ryan John Pascual (Regulon) | Rency Raquid (Riboswitch)

This year, The UPLB Genetics Society will hold its 6th National Intercollegiate Genetics Quiz Contest on November 7, 2015. The contest will tackle the importance of Medical Genetics and it is open to all undergraduate students from colleges and universities all over the Philippines with a background in genetics such as, but not limited to, agriculture, forestry, allied health sciences, and biology.

Getting bigger, bolder and better

The NIGQC traces its roots from the Luzon-wide Intercollegiate Genetics Quiz Contest first sponsored by GeneSoc in December 1998 at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) Main Center at Muñoz, Nueva Ecija. This was followed by two more editions in November 2000 (Batac, Ilocos Norte) and October 2002 (Los Baños, Laguna). During these years, the quiz contest was held along with the National Genetics Symposium organized by the Philippine Society for the Advancement of Genetics (PhilSAGen). However, the intercollegiate quiz contest was discontinued for more than a decade after the organization shifted its strategy on advancing GeneSoc's mission of promoting the science of Genetics in the Philippines by reaching out to secondary school students and high school biology teachers through the annual Genetics Camp.

Biology is Fun: Cell Press launches free Color-in Comic Books

by Ryan Pascual (Regulon)

"At Cell Press, we think biology is fun."

True to their website opening statement, Cell Press Comics tries to make biology appealing across all ages - from kids to the kid at heart. According to the site, Coloring with Cell, a coloring book, was launched several years ago and it became popular among scientists, educators and children. 

Two coloring books are available for free download: Coloring with Cell (2010), and Color-in Comics: Neurons at Play. Color-in Comics, Cell Press's second coloring book recently had it debut at the 2015 American Society for Neuroscience conference in Chicago. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Professional Society of Genetic Counselors in Asia opens at APCHG 2015

by Ryan Pascual (Regulon)

The launch of PSGCA. Pro Tem President
Ms. Mercy Laurino.
(Photo: DLSternen/MLaurino)
Last September 2015, the Professional Society of Genetic Counselors in Asia (PSGCA) was launched at the 11th Asia-Pacific Conference in Human Genetics (APCHG) held in Hanoi, Viet Nam. The 11th APCHG was organized by the National Hospital of Pediatrics - Viet Nam and the Asia-Pacific Society of Human Genetics.

The PSGCA launch was part of the Genetic Counseling pre-conference workshop organized by the PSGCA and the Global Health Genetics Group. The workshop was attended by genetic counselors, genetic counseling students, clinical geneticists and allied health professionals interested in the field of genetic counseling in the Asian region. It covered current clinical genetic counseling services and research opportunities, availability of genetic counseling training programs, and on-going developments to establish new programs.

According to PSGCA President Pro Tempore Ms. Mercy Laurino, "...the participants at the genetic counseling pre-conference shared how they would evaluate and provide genetic counseling for patients with hereditary conditions and their family members. It was evident from the breakout session that there is an urgent need for [producing] best practice “culturally relevant” genetic counseling guidelines, and [addressing] the current lack of resources/unequal access of genetic counseling services within and between count[r]ies". Reports on the current status of genetic counseling training and services in 10 countries were also presented during the workshop.[1] 

What is Genetic Counseling?

The US-based organization, National Society of Genetic Counselors defines genetic counseling as "a process of helping people understand and adapt to the medical, psychological and familial implications of genetic contributions to diseases." [2,3] Nowadays, genetic counseling services are found to be useful at all stages of development - from newborn screening, to the assessment of an individual's genetic predisposition, and the planning of a first pregnancy [4].

The role played by genetic counselors is more than drawing pedigrees in an attempt to clarify the genetic components of a health condition. According to the World Health Organization, "a genetic counselor provides information on the inheritance of illnesses and their recurrence risks; addresses the concerns of patients, their families, and their health care providers; and supports patients and their families on dealing with an illness." Furthermore, the  advent of next generation genomic sequencing technologies has increased the role of genetic counselors - both in scope and importance [4].

As a fully recognized health profession, genetic counseling is relatively new and evolving. Aside from the traditional hospital setting, genetic counselors can work in various fields: education, administration, policy-making, industry, and research [4].  At present, qualifications, roles and expectations, certification, and licensing of genetic counselors may vary among countries [5].

Monday, October 12, 2015

GenWeek 2015: A Fresh Twist to an Old Tradition

By Keach Nichole F. Lotho (Riboswitch)

In its 32nd anniversary, The UPLB Genetics Society will be conducting Genetics Week 2015, an annual exhibit starting from October 12 to October 17 at the Institute of Biological Sciences. Every “GenWeek” is looked forward to because of its witty and eye-catching designs inspired by diverse themes every year. This time, the organization will be giving a fresh twist to a familiar custom with the theme,  “Proteomics: Revolutionizing Healthcare beyond the Genome”, which focuses on the use of proteins as markers for early detection of diseases.

We conducted a one-on-one interview with the organization’s Projects Committee Head, Lorenzo Raphael Roxas to know the details of the exhibit.
  • Design-wise, what should the people expect for this year’s Genetics Week?

“More on nursery and children’s playroom, since we associated Proteomics with Newborn screening.”
  • Tell us about the process. What made you come up with the idea of the design?

“We were considering on three design ideas before; a womb, primary to quaternary protein structures, and nursery. Napili naming yung nursery”
  • How is this year’s GenWeek different from the previous one?

“This year’s exhibit will be more interactive and conducive for learning. We made it very light and fun to make sure that students will enjoy.”

Appreciating Genetics while enjoying its perks has always been the goal of every year’s Genetics Week. The organization hopes that the students can delve deeper into the wondrous works in Genetics as the event took almost two months of preparation. To give you a glimpse on what to expect for this year’s “GenWeek”, here is the line-up of the activities to watch out for:

Friday, October 2, 2015

GeneSoc wins back-to-back games, slams Cells and SMM

PALACASAN 2014 Most Valuable Player Gian Lorenz Vergara and GeneSoc import Justin Moran took charge in the clutch as GeneSoc Men’s Basketball Team claimed second victory against Society of Math Majors (SMM), 60-50, last September 21 at LBNHS covered court.

Vergara and Moran combined for 28 points while Torre pitched in 11 points to seal the game with a double digit lead.

SMM struggled to defend the perimeter early on as GeneSoc dominated the first quarter from beyond the arc.

In their September 19 game at Copeland Gym, GeneSoc toyed with Cells, 92-77, to record their first win.

Torre put up a monstrous performance with a team-high 28 points along with Vergara and Moran both at 25 points to pull the team away from the opponent’s grasp.

Meanwhile, GeneSoc Women’s Basketball Team celebrated the same victory with the men’s team as they flaunted an impressive show burying Cells and SMM, 20-9 and 20-6, during their first and second games respectively.

Megan Benigno led the squad with a total of 26 points in those two games with back up numbers from Katrina Gambalan at 4 points.

Sa tingin ko ang nagpapanalo sa games ay yung kagustuhan ng sisses na manalo at matuto. Every game na nilalaro ay nag iimprove yung sisses at nag fofocus sila during the game. Maganda ang teamwork. Above all, nag eenjoy sila every game. It’s what’s important. Whether we lose or we win, we enjoy the game,” said Benigno.

GeneSoc MBT, seeking a second straight crown, now poses the same standing with the women’s team with a 2-0 (win-loss) card, thus giving the organization an untarnished slate so far.

The BioSci-based cagers and cagebelles are set to face the CPS Triangle in their next game on October 3.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

ISAAA releases '50 Biotech Bites'


The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) recently released an electronic book (e-book) entitled 50 Biotech Bites. The e-book contains 50 topics relevant to the science, applications, and issues behind agricultural biotechnology. It is based on pocket-sized publications called Pockets K or Pockets of Knowledge which have been developed by ISAAA for the last 15 years. Each topic is discussed using "bite-sized" information to "feed" hungry minds and engage with others on the technology to make informed decisions about its adoption and use.

Visit the ISAAA website to get your free copy [LINK]

ISAAA releases 50 Biotech Bites, which contains 50 topics relevant to the science, applications, and issues behind...

About the ISAAA

The ISAAA is a not-for-profit international organization that shares the benefits of crop biotechnology to various stakeholders, particularly resource-poor farmers in developing countries, through knowledge sharing initiatives and the transfer and delivery of proprietary biotechnology applications. 

ISAAA's global knowledge sharing network and partnerships in the research and development continuum, provide a powerful combination of science-based information and appropriate technology to those who need to make informed decisions about their acceptance and use. In addition, an array of support services completes the holistic approach to agricultural development and ensures effective implementation and timely delivery of crop biotechnologies. These services include capacity building for policy makers and scientists; regulatory oversight on such issues as biosafety and food safety; impact assessment, and science communication.

The ISAAA South East Asia Center is currently based at the International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Laguna.