SEAMEO BIOTROP, as a regional center for tropical biology in Southeast Asia, conducts its activities that emphasize human resource empowerment in Southeast Asia through research, training, networking, personnel exchange, and information dissemination in tropical biology. In realizing its mandates, SEAMEO BIOTROP continuously conducts training courses on various fields related to tropical biology, among others is molecular biology. Molecular biology is beneficial for developing records of biodiversity, especially threatened biodiversity, which is almost extinct. As one field of molecular biology, DNA Barcoding is an efficient method to identify specimens and detect undescribed/cryptic species.
On 7-11 June 2021, SEAMEO BIOTROP held online technical guidance on DNA Barcoding for Biodiversity Monitoring, which aimed to 1. introduce molecular biology to the vocational and senior high schools teachers as well as university students and 2. educate and develop the teachers' and university students' competencies in the molecular biology field. This technical guidance focused on basic techniques on molecular biology, such as introduction to laboratory tools and equipment and their functions, methods for making solution, the proper technique for using micropipettes, collecting and storing specimens, isolating DNA and RNA, conducting electrophoresis and PCR, as well as sequencing by using Minion.
"SEAMEO-BIOTROP supports and keeps up with molecular biology activities, conducted by researchers in our biotechnology laboratories", stated Dr Zulhamsyah Imran, the Director of SEAMEO BIOTROP, in his opening remarks. He also expressed his expectation that the participants would obtain the latest DNA Barcoding information and distribute the information to students and other teachers.
The topics and resource persons presented in this technical guidance were: 1. Introduction to modern biology, genetics, and evolution (Dr Ulfah J. Siregar); 2. Biodiversity and its benefits, extinction, and invasive alien species (Prof Iskandar Siregar); 3. Species identification and systematics (Prof Iskandar Siregar); 4. Biodiversity monitoring (Prof Iskandar Siregar); 5. Introduction to tools and equipment in molecular biology and their functions (Ms Dewi Rahmawati, MSi); 6. Practicum video on Techniques for DNA isolation and electrophoresis (Ms Dewi Rahmawati, MSi); 7. PCR and q PCR techniques (Ms Anidah, MTPn); 8. Practicum video on PCR and q PCR techniques (Ms Anidah, MTPn); 9. DNA sequencing by using Minion (Mr M. Majidu, SHut); 10. Analysis of DNA sequencing by using Minion (Dr Rahadian Pratama).
This technical guidance was actively participated by 485 participants consisted of vocational and senior high schools teachers as well as university students from most provinces in Indonesia, i.e., Aceh (14 people), North Sumatera (10 people), West Sumatera (3 people), Riau (5 people), Kepulauan Riau (2 people), Jambi (5 people), Kepulauan Bangka Belitung (4 people), Bengkulu (14 people), Lampung (7 people), South Sumatera (5 people), Banten (17 people), DKI Jakarta (18 people), West Java (81 people), Central Java (73 people), DI Yogyakarta (7 people), East Java (162 people), Bali (3 people), West Nusa Tenggara (8 people), East Nusa Tenggara (3 people), North Kalimantan (2 people), Central Kalimantan (6 people), West Kalimantan (6 people), South Kalimantan (6 people), North Sulawesi (5 people), Gorontalo (1 person), Central Sulawesi (4 people), West Sulawesi (2 people), South Sulawesi (8 people), Southeast Sulawesi (2 people), Maluku (1 person), West Papua (1 person).
The participants underwent pre- and post- tests on matters related to the topics of the technical guidance. These tests aimed to obtain information on the particpants' knowledge on the topics before and after participating the technical guidance. An evaluation of the implementation of the technical guidance was also carried out to access participants' opinions on the event.