The National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL), through the Agricultural Sciences Division (ASD) and in partnership with the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), held the Roundtable Discussion on Screening of Genetic Defects in Domestic Livestock Industry on May 14, 2015 at Acacia Hotel Manila. The RTD focused on animal breeding and development, particularly genetic defects screening of breeder stocks in commercial farms.

Dr. Michelle M. Balbin, science research specialist II of the PCC, discussed common genetic defects in domestic animals. Dr. Balbin gave a background on the local livestock production and genetic improvement program. She discussed the impacts of animals with genetic defects to the industry, which include lower production, physical deformities, and deadly diseases. According to Dr. Balbin, not all animals show signs of genetic defects. Some animals are carriers that will pass on the defect to the next generation. Dr. Balbin reiterated the importance of testing the herd for the presence of genetic defects to avoid economic losses from genetic defects. bShe enumerated common defects in domestic animals, with focus on cattle and water buffalo.. She also discussed genetic defects on swine, sheep, goat, and horse.

Dr. Ming-Che Wu, division chief of Breeding and Genetics, Taiwan Livestock Research Institute, talked about screening for genetic defects in domestic animals.  He explained the ACTION scheme: Aware status, Core facility, Team ready, In-time service, Outreach system, and Niche management. According to Dr. Wu, the action scheme was established for the genetic improvement of elite breeding stocks in private farms of Taiwan using DNA-based screening for genetic defects.

The aware status is for understanding the tools and information they used and further improving them; core facility is about having “key tools” in building data banks; team-ready means having a public-private partnership for a better breeding program; in-time service is for having immediate screening results when needed; outreach system is for assistance of new members; and lastly, niche management evaluates the economic value and outcome of each allelic gene.

Dr. Marcos B. Valdez Jr., OYS 2012 and associate professor, Science Cluster, University of the Philippines Cebu, gave the synthesis of the discussions. Dr. Valdez stated the importance of considering the upcoming ASEAN integration this 2015 in creating a policy on screening for genetic defects in important livestock animals. The ASEAN integration will open markets for trade in the ASEAN countries. According to him, we need to identify measures to ensure that livestock animals that will enter the Philippine market are free from genetic defects.
Acd. Libertado C. Cruz, member of the ASD, served as the focal person and the moderator of the RTD. (Aislynn Fabiola G. Manuel)