PCC engages international scientists to intensify livestock biotechnology efforts

Two internationally renowned scientists were recently engaged by the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) for technical consultancy in PCC’s livestock reproductive biotechnology program and other related research collaborations.

The scientists were Dr. Masashige Kuwayama and Dr. Xiuchun Cindy Tian.

Dr. Masashige Kuwayama is the chief executive officer of the Reproductive-Support Medical Research Center and the director of the Kato Ladies Clinic in Tokyo, Japan. Dr. Xiuchun Cindy Tian, on the other hand, is a professor in the Animal Science Department and Center for Regenerative Biology in the University of Connecticut, USA.

Dr. Kuwayama also gave a hands-on training among PCC scientists at the PCC Reproductive laboratory on his vitrification method using Cryotec, his most recent modification of the Cryotop method.

A component of the technical consultation was a symposium on reproductive and molecular biotechnology held on December 19 at the Edsa Shangri-La Manila hotel in Mandaluyong City. This symposium was attended by experts in the field of livestock biotechnology and researchers from the University of the Philippines-Los Baños, Department of Agriculture-Biotechnology Program Unit, and from the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD). Professors and students in animal science from various universities, and practitioners in human medicine also attended the event.

Dr. Kuwayama presented his topic on “successful vitrification of oocytes and embryos in human and animals” which highlighted his team’s efforts in successfully vitrifying human oocytes and embryos particularly of infertile and cancer patients using the Cryotop vitrification method. Cryotop is a vitrification method which Dr. Kuwayama developed for human oocytes in 1999 and human embryos in 2000. With the same method, he established the first human cryobank in 2001.

“Clinically optimized vitrification protocol has been established in this decade and extremely preferable results have been repeatedly reported for human oocytes and embryos in many advanced IVF (in-vitro fertilization) centers in Japan, USA, and Europe,” Dr. Kuwayama said.

“I wish that the success of this technology can create significant impact around the world not only for the benefits of the common infertile patients, but also for cancer women to realize their dream of fertility. I hope that this technology can contribute widely among humans as well as in the animal industry of the Philippines,” he added.

Dr. Tian, on the other hand, presented the topic “functional genomics in early bovine embryos from assisted reproductive biotechnologies” and on the importance of the use of somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) or cloning in animals.

Recognizing that various animals such as sheep, cattle, goat, pig, buffalo, among others, have been cloned successfully, she said that introduction of this advanced technology on reproduction might not be fully embraced by the public due to fear, misunderstanding, and ethical concerns.

“Technology, however, is continuously evolving to improve production efficiency, generate good quality products, and address the rapidly increasing human population,” Dr. Tian said.

She further explained that by 2050, there would be 10 billion people and there would not be enough food for everyone. This, she said, calls scientists to develop technologies that could ensure production efficiency and food sufficiency.

“Some of these technologies are already here. What we need to do now is to make people understand them better,” she said.

PCC executive director Dr. Libertado Cruz, on the other hand, said: “When we see the progress of these animal biotechniques, such as artificial insemination (AI), super ovulation, nuclear transfer, and IVM/IVF (in-vitro maturation/in-vitro fertilization), we realize that these are becoming more practical. Same thing goes with somatic cell nuclear transfer.”

“With continuous efforts on improving the efficiency of this technology, perhaps SCNT will become a practical technology in the farm 10 to 20 years from now,” Dr. Tian seconded.

With the consultancy engagement of the two experts, PCC positively looks forward to a strengthened PCC reproductive biotechnology unit in the areas of oocyte and embryo cryopreservation; genomics/genetic researches; and establish international linkages through research collaborations along the areas of cryopreservation and molecular reproduction.

PCC Joins SCM 11th Charter Anniversary Celebration

PCC AT A GLANCE. A view of the Philippine Carabao Center’s (PCC) float entry in the recently concluded “Best Float” competition, which is one of the highlights of the weeklong 11th Charter
Anniversary Celebration of the Science City of Muñoz (SCM), December 5-9. The PCC float displayed a life-sized photo of a family who is obtaining success in dairy buffalo production through the assistance of PCC. The float was adjudged 2nd place in the competition. The parade was participated by 17 float
entries from the science community’s schools and agencies. The 11th Charter Anniversary, which adopted the theme”Ugnayan sa Pagtataguyod ng Agham at Teknolohiya, Tahak ang Tuwid na Daan Tungo sa Kaunlaran,” staged other activities for the celebration such as S&T expo, Miss SCM, talent show, public servants’ night, street dancing contest, SK night, variety show, and barangay night. (Photo by MLAntaran)

PCC takes stride on the possible use of sexed semen for buffalo R&D

After several advances in livestock biotechnology undertakings, the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) strides to yet another research endeavor—the use of sexed semen or sperm-sexing technique in buffalo.

Sperm-sexing makes gender selection possible, that is, produce an offspring of the desired sex following artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization.

The research will be carried out by a team composed of Dr. Libertado C. Cruz, executive director; Dr. Danilda H. Duran, senior agriculturist; and Peregrino G. Duran, supervising science research specialist and coordinator of the reproductive biotechnology unit.

They attended the 8th annual conference of the Asian Reproductive Biotechnology Society (ABRS) in Guilin City, China from October 25-30, where they consequently established collaboration and research linkage with Guangxi University in Nanning, China on sperm sexing project in buffalo.

At present, Dr. Kehuan Lu of Guangxi University has about 30,000 doses of sexed buffalo semen whose sperms were sorted using a flow cytometer.

Dr. Lu and Dr. Cruz agreed that both parties will be jointly working on this project. Both parties also look forward in the possible supply of available sexed buffalo sperm samples that will be brought to the Philippines through PCC for intensified R&D purposes.

Further, the team also had dialogues with the representatives from Guangxi Water Buffalo Research Institute on developments and trends of water buffalo research in China. Currently, the research institute focuses its R&D efforts on ovum pick-up (OPU) and on the use of sexed-sperm for the production of sex-predetermined calves that will also help magnify China’s dairy buffalo industry.

Aside from establishing research collaborations on the sperm-sexing project, the team also discussed possible research linkage in the field of oocytes vitrification with Prof. Junya Ito of Azabu University, Kanagawa, Japan.

Meanwhile, the team also presented a paper titled, “Effect of pyruvate and lactate with increasing concentration of serum and addition of glucose to basic medium, TCM 199, on the production of water buffalo embryo in vitro”.

With deliberate efforts and reproductive biotechnology advancements continuously being done in the Philippines, the Executive Committee of ARBS identified the Philippines, through PCC, as the venue for the 9th Annual conference of ARBS.


Livestock stakeholders in Region 2 tackle opportunities for expanded business

Following the declaration of the International des Epizooties (OIE), or the World Organization for Animal Health, that the Philippines has already been declared as foot and mouth disease (FMD)-free, the Philippine Society of Animal Science-Cagayan Valley Chapter (PSAS-CV), Region 2, organized the Livestock and Poultry Seminar at the Crown Pavillion in Tuguegarao City last November 16.
The theme of the event was “Potential of Livestock and Poultry products for export”.
Related to this theme was a previous statement made by Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala underscoring the crucial contribution of the new developments in the livestock and poultry sector to increase the market of the Philippine products worldwide. This will mean that the Filipino farmers can market their live animals or processed products to other countries instead of concentrating in the domestic market.
The Livestock and Poultry seminar aimed to: a) provide a venue for sharing of new ideas and relevant technologies that would improve farm management, increase animal productivity, improve income from live and processed animal products; b) provide information on various animal products marketed locally and exported, including access to credits and funding assistance from government and non-government financing institutions; and c) learn new business opportunities that will be shared by various organizations, companies, and government entities.
It was participated in by the provinces in Region 2 like Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino, and Nueva Vizcaya, wherein they sent their provincial and municipal agriculturists, provincial and municipal veterinarians, livestock inspectors, and artificial insemination technicians. Dairy cooperatives, animal science and veterinary graduates, ranchers and private farm owners also attended the seminar.

According to PSAS-CV chapter’s outgoing president and center director of Philippine Carabao Center at Cagayan State University (PCC at CSU) Professor Franklin T. Rellin, Region 2, has a huge land area, numerous livestock and poultry resources, and strong livestock organizations, thus, has the potential to produce more good quality and safe animal products like milk, meat, eggs and breeding animals.

The region, though, needs good animal genetics through purebred animal infusion and continuous crossbreeding of the native animals to increase the herd size and quality of animals, Prof. Rellin said.

Dr. Arnel N. del Barrio, center director of Philippine Carabao Center at University of the Philippines-Los Baños (PCC at UPLB), discussed the Carabao-Based Enterprise Development (CBED) program. He emphasized the aim of CBED program which is “to showcase viable carabao-based dairy enterprise for the greater benefit of the smallhold farmers and rural farming communities”.

He presented the experiences of the management of General Trias Cooperative in Cavite in implementing the CBED program.

Dr. Jonathan N. Nayga, PSAS-CV chapter’s treasurer, discussed “Good Animal Husbandry Practices” while Director Marilyn T. Estrada, Regional Agricultural Statistics Officer (RASO-BAS 02), discussed the current status of livestock and poultry industry in Region 2.

Dr. Philip Watson, Canadian Executive Service Organization-Volunteer Adviser (CESO-VA), government of Canada, presented the Artificial Insemination (AI) program in dairy carabao and cattle; Dr. Joel L. Reyes, presented the Organic Chicken farming; and Ms. Rani C. Tilwani, Gromax technical associate, discussed the potential of Gromax dairy feeds.

On the latter part of the seminar, new set of officers of PSAS-CV was elected.

Mrs. Edelina B. Rellin, senior science research specialist of PCC at Cagayan State University, was elected as the PSAS-CV chapter’s auditor.

All the new members and new sets of officers of the PSAS-CV took their oath which was led by Dr. Del Barrio.