Ateneo tops Nat’l Genetics Quiz

by Crispin Mahrion Abacan

Members of the UPLB Genetics Society (GeneSoc) wore blue shirts. Indeed, blue was the color of the day as the team from Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) topped the 4th National Intercollegiate Genetics Quiz Contest (NIGQC) of the UPLB GeneSoc held at Drilon Hall-SEARCA, University of the Philippines-Los Baños, Sept. 14.

Hadeza P. Cabaddu, Wrench Chester S. Canicosa and Antoni Andreu M. Martija of ADMU bested 9 other teams. They were the leading team during the group category in the average and difficult rounds.

“We’re really happy! The reviews we had done for three weeks were all worth it,” said Canicosa. ADMU received a cash prize of 15,000, a trophy, certificates of recognition, and team members each received medals.

The Ateneo team poses for a photo op with their prizes.

“The questions were pretty-well balanced and very challenging. Practically, they are the best from each school. And I believe, all of them were challenged appropriately with the sets of question,” said Ronald Cruz, the moderator of the Ateneo Biological Organization who accompanied the students.

Kenji Rowel Q. Lim, Dominic S. Albao, and Liezel U. Tamon of UP-Diliman finished second place. Adrian L. Santos, Federico Cristobal C. de Jesus, and May Nadine Alessandra R. Uy of UP-Manila, the defending champion, were in third place. They received certificates of participation, medals, and a cash prize of 7000 and 5000 respectively.

Furthermore, Santos and de Jesus of UP-Manila, were recognized as top scorers for the individual easy round.

“Honestly, I didn’t expect to top the first part. Before the quizcon, we don’t know how we compare to other schools since we have different genetics curriculum. I guess we showed them that the curriculum we have is really competent despite having few genetics majors to teach us,” said Santos.

With the organization’s 30th year anniversary, the GeneSoc, through this event, aims to reach out and encourage the creative appreciation of the genetics field among college students.

“One of the UPLB’s GeneSoc’s objectives is to promote and create awareness about the science of Genetics in the Philippines. This year, since we will be celebrating our 30th anniversary, we thought of extending this awareness to college students in the country , hence , the comeback of the NIGQC,” said Gelina Rose A. Bambalan, NIGQC 2013 committee head.

Other participating schools were: Central Mindanao University, University of the East, University of the Philippines-Visayas-Tacloban, University of Santo Tomas, St. Louis University, St. Scholastica’s College, and West Visayas State University.

The UST team uses the contest break to read materials and reviewers.

On celebrating Genetics discovery

Themed “DNA Goes Diamond: 60 years of Progressive Research and Development,” the quiz contest is in line with the celebration of the discovery of the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) structure by James Watson and Francis Crick. This year, 2013 marked the Diamond Jubilee of the elucidation of the structure of life’s blueprint –the DNA.

According to the website of the GeneSoc, sixty years ago, scientists Watson and Crick worked together in the University of Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory which led to the discovery of a certain body of knowledge behind the concept of inheritance and biological information later called Genetics. Since 1953, “the elucidation of the DNA structure has also led to the development of other sciences like molecular biology and biotechnology.”

Meanwhile, Samuel Contosa, UP Manila coach and an alumnus of the Genesoc said that the event is good because it allows schools to have an awareness on genetics, though must go beyond competition purposes.

“We have the linkages already, and the people too. We could use that linkages to get those people who participated the competition to spread the science of genetics, make it more popular,” he added.

Students on the study of Genetics

“It’s interesting because genetics for me plays a major role in unlocking the mysteries of the living world. Its application is almost limitless had not for the ethical issues it raises. The current trends and developments in science are inkling nonetheless to the field of genetics. Thus, in order to be at par with the changing scientific world, students must be more knowledgeable, not just aware, of this subject,” said Uy from UP-Manila.

“Genetics is a trending field today. It’s so dynamic; it’s so changing. There are lots of field we can go after college so it’s very interesting,” said Canicosa from ADMU.

“Genetics is very interesting because it is connected to medicine. It offers lots of explanations for us to understand how things work especially for those who aren’t familiar with such stuff,” said Rose Angelica Amper of Central Mindanao University.

“We have to raise awareness on the field of genetics to students. The technology is really improving. And we need to learn something about genetics since we have modified genes , modified plants and etc. because I think it will help humanity,” said Ralph Labaclado from UP Visayas-Tacloban.

“Genetics is an emerging field of biology and it is now a widely explored avenue as researchers try to look for long term solutions to some of the pressing problems in the world. It is also becoming a fundamental element of other branches of biology. Genetics has always been a remarkable branch of science for research and development. Genetics is the science of the future,” said Jean Reni B. de Guzman, Education Committee head of the GeneSoc.

The National InterCollegiate Genetics Quiz Contest was sponsored by: Department of Science and Technology Region IV-A,Philippine Rice Research Institute ,Monsanto Technologies, and Philippine Society for the Advancement of Genetics (PhilSAGen) in partnership with the Genetics and Molecular Biology Division (GMBD), and the Institute of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, University of the Philippines Los Baños

Fire hits house at Grove

Batong Malake fire fighters arrive at the scene.

GROVE, Los Banos – Fire destroyed a house on a compound behind Sizzler’s last night, Sept. 12.

There were no injuries reported, aside from four puppies that died.

Police reports state that the fire broke out in 10453, Grove at 8:39 in the evening. The cause of the fire, however, was still unidentified.

Nagulat na lang kami. Marami ng lumabalabas na tao, mga 8:40 siguro ‘yun. ‘Yun pala may sunog na. [We were shocked. There were many people going out (of Sizzler’s) at around 8:40 pm., only to find out there was fire already”], said Helen Garnale, a canteen keeper at Parduch.

Panic struck the nearby Sizzler’s dormitory and restaurant after the fire broke out.

May tumili. ‘Pag tingin ko, after five minutes may apoy na. Nagtatakbuhan na yung mga tao, so nakitakbo na din ako… Five meters away lang yung sunog mula sa kwarto ko. (Someone cried. When I checked, after five minutes there was fire already. The people were already running, so I followed them… The fire was just five meters away from my room,)” said Maria Carmel Rimpos, a UPLB student and dormer at Sizzler’s.

The Batong Malake fire squad, however, was quick to respond.

Tumawag ako ng isang mama, ‘di ko na nga naalala kung sino s’ya. Sabi n’ya s’ya nalang daw ang pupunta sa fire office. Ambilis ng Batong Malake. [I called a man on the street; I can’t even remember who he was. He volunteered to go to (the Batong Malake) fire office. (The) Batong Malake (fire squad) was quick],” said Mrs. Brenda Ramos, owner of the Sizzler’s dormitory and restaurant.

Mrs. Ramos let the fire squad enter the burning house through the front of her restaurant.

Sabi ko wala po kayong dadaanan sa likod, dito na po kayo dumaan. Buti nalang dito dumaan, kundi kung sakali pati kami damay. Putok lahat ng salamin sa init ng apoy eh. [I said (the firemen) cannot enter at the back, so (they) can enter here (in the restaurant). It’s a good thing they came through here. The fire could have reached us. All of our windows exploded due to the heat],” she said.

Police reports stated that the fire was already under control at 8:58 pm. At 9:05pm, the fire was already out.

Buti naagapan agad. Kung hindi, malamang mas malaki pa ang naging damage. [It’s a good thing (the fire) was put out immediately. It could’ve caused further damage]”, said PCI Andres Simbajon Jr.

Only the upper part of the house was burned. The house was said to be owned by a certain Velasco family who doesn’t reside there anymore. The lower part of the compound, however, was occupied by the Matias family.

Kami mismo ‘di pa namin alam ang cause ng sunog… Buti na lang walang nasaktan. [Even we don’t know what caused the fire… It’s a good thing no one was hurt,” said Mr. Froilan Matias, one of the compound residents.

Paoloregel Samonte (with reports from Janica Gan)