The Department of Agriculture – Biotech Program Office (DA-BPO) organized a 3-days training-workshop on GM Animals for the regulators from various government offices on April 11-13, 2018 at Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) Muñoz, Nueva Ecija. Representatives from Department of Health-Food and Drug Administration (DOH-FDA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Animal Industry and Department of Science and Technology-Biosafety Committee (DOST-BC) Secretariat were present during the training-workshop.
The purpose of the training was to improve the awareness and understanding of the participants on modern biotechnology, particularly animal biotechnology and acquire technical capability to assess the technology and products for utilization as explained by Ms. Annalyn Lopez, Assistant Program Director at DA-BPO.
The first speaker was Dr. Karl Marx A. Quiazon, Associate Professor at Central Luzon State University (CLSU), who lectured on introduction to Molecular Biology and Biotechnology to serve as a refresher on the principles of genetic engineering through molecular biology and biotechnology. This was followed by Dr. Marvin A. Villanueva, Senior Science Research Specialist at PCC, who discussed the animal biotech tools present that time, the principles and application of various modern biotechnology tools in animal breeding. The discussion was complemented with a thorough explanation on genetic engineering (GE) and non-GE techniques.
The following day, the scope of the DA Biotech Program-commissioned GM Animals study was presented to the participants wherein various regulatory landscape from selected foreign countries were reviewed as guide and possible development prospects for the Philippines, as explained by Dr. Claro N. Mingala, Scientist III and PCC Chief. This was further complemented with the discussion on the regulatory landscape of GM animals in the Philippines presented by Atty. Paz Buenavidez II, Member of DA Biotech Program TC on Policy Research and Advocacy. Review of the preceding section and existing domestic laws and agency mandates to the regulation of GM animals allowed a clearer picture for the participants to be aware of which offices could facilitate in the development of the regulatory guidelines for GM animals in the Philippines. Dr. Villanueva, discussed the principles in Gene Discovery, Cloning and Annotation as coupled by hands-on laboratory sessions wherein participants were given the opportunity to conduct and experience the process of DNA Extraction, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), Agarose /PAGE and Gel Scoring.
Lastly, the participants were given a chance to visit various facilities in PCC and in BFAR Nueva Ecija to witness and see first-hand how genetic material used in reproduction and improvement of breed or species are tested, conducted, stored and where these animals are grown.