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The Department of Science and Technology-Biosafety Committee (DOST-BC) continues its drive to seek new information, this time on widening its awareness on biodiversity in the Philippines.

In the second installment of the monthly seminar held last 22 August 2020 via Zoom, the guest lecturer was Dr. Ian Kendrich Fontanilla, Director of the Institute of Biology, University of the Philippines, Diliman. His presentation on the “Molecular Tools for Assessment and Monitoring of Philippine Biodiversity” focused on: (1) status of the current Philippine diversity; (2) the process and advantages of DNA barcoding; and (3) the Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL) which is an international initiative devoted to developing DNA barcoding as a global standard for the identification of biological species. He explained that barcode sequences are placed in the Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) database – an online workbench that includes a reference library of DNA barcodes that can be used to assign identities to sequences of unknown origin. It is the go-to site for DNA-based identification and the central informatics platform for DNA barcoding. He underscored the importance and usefulness of DNA barcoding which must be databased, catalogued, and annotated. He emphasized that the Philippines must actively annotate its biodiversity for monitoring and must have an extensive database which we could use as reference. Current initiatives of the Consortium include barcoding of hoyas and tree spp.