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PIA Press Release

DoST unveils advances in R&D during National Biotechnology Week rites

Manila (26 November) -- The Department of Science and technology (DOST), which co-chairs this year's celebration of the National Biotechnology Week on November 23-29, 2008 at the Institute for Small Scale Industries at the University of the Philippines--Diliman, will unveil the results of research and development projects on biotechnology that were undertaken by the department.

Following the theme "Making biotechnology work for you," DoST will show the work of several biotechnology scientists on agriculture, health, energy, environment, food and industries and DNA forensics for police officers.

DoST has given priority to biotechnology as a major area for grants and financial aid.

According to DoST Secretary Estrella Alabastro, bulk of the R&D efforts goes to agriculture and health, with a small portion going to energy and industry, like bioremediation. Agriculture remains on top of DoST's list, she added.

"Biotech really started with agriculture right? Of course, it's agriculture. What are we supporting right now? We have work on fruits, high-value fruits like papaya and mango, coconut of course. We are also doing work on the fibers like the abaca. It's very important to us. We are also working on bananas. May mga priority crops tayo, like sweet potato, because this is a crop that is very prone to certain diseases, and it is a major crop in Central Luzon. So ang mga farmers natin sa Central Luzon are looking at varieties that are resistant to certain diseases," Alabastro revealed.

Also high in the list of DoST's priorities is work on discovering compounds, enzymes and other substances for the manufacture of medicines and detection kits for infectious diseases.

DoST is also sponsoring a series of scientific fora featuring researches and studies that it had funded.

The first in the series is the Scientific Forum on Energy and Environment, to be led by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and development (PCARRD-DOST), Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research and Development (PCIERRD-DoST), in cooperation with the Department of Environment and natural Resources (DENR).

It will be followed by the Scientific Forum on Health by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD-DoST) and the Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine research and Development (PCAMRD-DoST). Both will be held on November 25, 2008.

On November 26, PCARRD-DoST, together with the Department of Agricultre-Biotechnology Program Office (DA-BPO) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) will stage a Scientific Forum on Agriculture and Food Industry.

A training workshop on deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) orensics for police officers will also take place on November 27, sponsored by the Philippine Council for Advanced Science and Technology Research and Development (PCASTRD-DoST).

Aside from the scientific fora, the Science Education Institute (SEI-DoST) will also sponsor an educational forum on biotechnology on November 26. (biolife news service/PIA 12) [top]

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