PCC researchers learn technical know-how on molecular phylogenetics

Researchers of PCC gained better understanding of the practical applications of molecular analysis thru various methods and techniques discussed in-depth in a recent three-day “Workshop on Molecular Phylogenetics” held last September 12, 19, and 26 at the PCC national headquarters, Science City of Muñoz in Nueva Ecija.

“These methods and techniques can be utilized to further characterize the different varieties of carabaos for whatever purpose it may serve the PCC. For example, we can use this method to identify the relatedness of its different varieties whether species-level or subspecies level for breeding, genetic variation or other purposes,” Dr. Ian Kendrich Fontanilla, who served as the resource person and shared his expertise on molecular phylogeny, said.

Dr. Fontanilla is an associate professor from the Institute of Biology of the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

During the workshop, the PCC researchers were exposed to the practical application of various statistical tools and molecular programs for the analysis and interpretation of phylogenetic relationship of species particularly on livestock. A series of lectures and hands-on computer exercises using various programs and statistical tools to analyze sequences were done to achieve this.

PCC Senior Science Research Specialist Lilian Villamor said the workshop helped PCC researchers to have a better understanding on aligning data sets and phylogenetic analysis using different tools, software, or programs and critically interpreting these data.

“We are now more equipped and knowledgeable in constructing species phylogeny inference and we are able to interpret the evolutionary relationship of target species,” Villamor explained.

According to John L. Gittleman of the University of Georgia’s Odum School of Ecology, phylogeny is the history of the evolution of a species or group, especially in reference to lines of descent and relationships among broad groups of organisms.

It encompasses construction of phylogenetic trees that are widely used to describe relationships among species in the tree of life. The approach to understand and establish species identification takes avail of the molecular phylogenetics as a tool for genome comparisons.

Said workshop was conducted by PCC thru its Research for Development Division (RDD).

RDD chief Dr. Annabelle Sarabia said the workshop will help participants gain knowledge on basic approaches in the identification of relationships among species and taxa and will be useful in their research activities and related undertakings.