By Ma. Khrisma Soliven with reports from Kezia Grace Jungco
Over 114 high school students and teachers from different parts of Luzon gathered for the 8th Genetics Camp held at the Institute of Biological Sciences (IBS) , University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) last January 19-20.
For this year, the annual event is themed “GENEStability: Sustainable Agricultural Productivity through Genetics and Biotechnology.” It aims to introduce and promote the science of Genetics through its applications. Participating schools include: Recto Memorial National High School (RMNHS), Quezon National High School, St. Anne College, Laguna College, and Don Bosco.
Prof. Mia Desiree Azañes-Verdeprado and Prof. Cheryl Agdaca delivered lectures on the “Introduction of Genetics” and on the “Central Dogma of Molecular Biology”during the first day of the event. The participants were also given activities so they can further appreciate the event. They saw the human DNA structure through a 3D-origami model. They also had a hands-on experience on the extraction and isolation of DNA through their own cheek cells. An educational tour at BIOTECH-UPLB was also conducted for the participants.
Symposia on “Biotechnology” and “Newborn Screening” was also conducted by Dr. Rhodora Aldemita and by Dr. Merlyn Mendioro. Gene Camp’s first day ended with a Socials Night wherein the participants from different schools got to interact with their co-participants.
On the second day, Dr. Gabriel Romero of Monsanto Philippines talked on the importance of biotechnology in sustaining agricultural productivity. The students were given a tour to the facilities of the UPLB campus. Teachers were also trained with the effective teaching of Genetics, which was facilitated by Mr. Jickerson Lado, an instructor at the IBS and junior adviser of the UPLB Genetics Society.
Jenny Guevarra of RMHS said, “We teachers attended this for us to learn new things for our students.” She said that the camp had done well in introducing Genetics to students while letting them enjoy it.
Several contests were also held during the second day of the Gene Camp. The said activities include: Genetics Inter-High School Quiz, Essay Writing Contest, Poster and Slogan Making Contest and Debate. Over-all champion school for the camp was Laguna College (LC).
Isabel Louise Reyes of LC, one of the participants and chosen as the Best Performing Student in the camp said, “Talaga pong hindi maikakaila na nakakaenjoy po tong camp.”
UPLB Genetics Society Head Rufus Thomas Adducul also stressed the importance of Genetics. “Through Genetics, we bring about sustainable development, food sustainability, and many more.”