“Ethical, Legal, Social Issues” (ELSI) Program

Revision as of 23:19, 10 September 2013 by Iskwiki.admin (talk | contribs) (Online Courses)
PGC ELSI Logo.png

“Ethical, Legal, Social Issues” (ELSI) Program
Philippine Genome Center

ELSI Program Office
Natural Science Research Institute (NSRI)
University of the Philippines
Diliman, Quezon City

the ELSI Program Wordle


psy @ kssp . upd . edu . ph

Mobile Phone
+63 919 440 2160

URL Shortcut: goo.gl/cSrmu

Core Group
Dr Salvador Eugenio Caoili (molecular medicine, bioinformatics)
Prof Marcia Ruth Gabriela Fernandez (sociology, law)
Prof Renato Manaloto (bioethics, law) – Assistant Program Director
Prof Peter Sy (bioethics) – Program Director
Dr Merce Planta (history of medicine)

Scientific Advisory Committee
Dr. Leonardo de Castro (bioethics)
Reidar K. Lie (research ethics, medicine)
Dr. Marita Reyes (medicine, bioethics)

Research Assistant
Maribel Dano (communications research)
Valerainne Lopez (education)
Luis Antonio Medina (industrial engineering)

About the ELSI Program

Established in 2011, the ELSI (Ethical, Legal, Social Issues in Genomics) Program of the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) is a multidisciplinary initiative that seeks to identify and deliberate the ethical, legal, and social issues in genomics. It works for the integration of ethical, legal, and social considerations into the practice of genomic research in the Philippines.

Using analytical tools and perspectives honed in the social sciences, philosophy, and law, the ELSI Program seeks to cover issues ranging from the public health implications of genomics to the current legal and social challenges to its researchers in the country; from issues of food security, environmental sustainability, and social acceptability of genomic research in agriculture to issues of informed consent, privacy, confidentiality, and levels of understanding of participants in genomic research.

The Program also investigates governance issues in the creation, maintenance, and administration of repositories and archives of genetic materials. Questions concerning the use, sharing, and security of biological samples (e.g., those collected from the Newborn Screening Program) will be examined.

While the Program raises tough social, ethical, and legal questions, it seeks to engage the scientific community in ways that help make Philippine genomic research a reflexive, productive, socially responsible enterprise. It seeks to facilitate a conversation among health care providers, policymakers, researchers, opinion makers, laypersons regarding genomics in the Philippines; to help achieve greater clarity in the public appreciation of genomic research and the scientists’ understanding of public knowledge and attitude towards science.

Priority Issues and Projects

These are the priority projects and issues of the ELSI Program:[1]

1. Workshops, Seminars, Conferences, or Colloquia on the Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues in and Challenges to Genomics in the Philippines

To be conducted at least twice a year, these are gatherings of practitioners, researchers, academics, policy-makers, and other professionals to identify, analyze, and address the ethical, legal, and social issues and challenges arising from the practice of, research in, and policy-making for genomics in the Philippines. Specific topics for these gatherings include:

(a) Prohibition on Transport of DNA of Endemic Plants like abaca, saba, and pili
(b) Partnership with Private Companies on Genomic Research
(c) Intellectual Property Rights Relating to Genomic-Research-Improved Varieties
(d) Regulations and Guidelines for Mutual Transfer Agreement in Genomic Research

2. Ethical, Legal, and Social Investigation and Analysis on Creating, Maintaining, and Administering Repositories and Archives of Genomic Samples and Data

Using the tools, methods, and perspectives of the social sciences, ethics, and law, this Project examines and analyzes the creation, maintenance, and administration of, and the research on, repositories and archives of genomic samples and data. Specific topics for this project include those concerning the use, sharing, and security of biological samples and data in Genomic Research (e.g., data and samples from the Newborn Screening Program).

3. Public understanding of genomics and the ethical, legal, and social issues relating to recruitment of genomic research participants

Using social research methodologies, this Project probes into the Filipino public's understanding and concerns about genomics and how adequately it might support participation in genomic research. Recruitment issues like informed consent, privacy, levels of understanding are explored using FGDs, interviews, surveys and meta-analysis of recent literature on these issues.

The Project also seeks to facilitate more substantive dialogue among health care providers, researchers, and laypersons regarding genomics in the Philippines. Public forums, media engagements, stakeholders are sought to help clarify genomic research and public concerns about it.

The Project could serve as input to the other programs of the PGC.

4. Biodiversity, agricultural applications of genomics, and food security

This Project seeks to investigate the ethical, legal, and social implications of efforts to apply genomics to Philippine agriculture to help ensure food security. Social factors like population growth, urbanization, changes in consumption patterns, create tremendous pressure on our biodiversity and on genomic researchers in agriculture to help increase healthy and environmentally sustainable food supplies from crops, livestock, fisheries, and aquaculture.

What are the ethical, legal, and social tradeoffs that we face in our efforts to achieve food security through genomics?

5. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Issues in Genomics

This Project examines the ethical, legal, and social issues regarding the intellectual property rights to the practice, research, and development in genomics, and the effects of such rights not only on individuals and the public, but also on drug researches and developments, health care programs, and public health policies.

It also identifies and suggests from the many perspectives of the social sciences, ethics, and law the appropriate intellectual property protections for discoveries and developments in genomics.

6. Social, Ethical, and Legal Assessment of the Non-Medical Uses of Genomic Data

This is a social, ethical, and legal assessment of the non-medical uses of genomic data in, for example, forensics, litigation, paternity test, ancestry or genealogy tracing, mental health history, determination of migration patterns, insurance enrolment, or employment decision-making.

It also identifies and suggests ways to address specific problems arising from genomic data like employment or insurance discrimination, stigma from mental illness, exploitation, and breach of privacy and confidentiality.

7. Public health concerns

This Project focuses on the public perception of risks involved in genomic research, genetic discrimination, cost of health care and insurance, regulation of genetic tests and products directly marketed to the public.

8. Genetic counseling

This Project seeks to “embed” genetic counseling program in PGC projects involving human subjects.


Online Courses

UVLe Page

Initially available to UP constituents only. For UP Diliman users, UP Webmail account required. For other CUs, contact your Interactive Learning Ctr (ILC) to request UVLe access.

  • Introduction to Patent and Patent Search. Topics: Patent Rights, Patents as Sources of Scientific Technical and Commercial Information, Patent Documents and Reading Claims, Patent Search Strategies, Patent Classification Systems. Faculty - Marcia Ruth Gabriela Fernandez
  • Research Ethics Review: An Introduction. An introductory course on ethics review of research involving human subjects. Topics include human subjects research (nature and scope), the research ethics review process, informed consent, privacy and confidentiality, conflict of interest, research involving vulnerable populations, use of human biological specimens, and social research. The course is intended for a diverse audience (researchers, reviewers, students, staff) who wish to be acquainted with research ethics review. Faculty - Peter A. Sy

Cf: Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative


For updates, please fill out this form.

PGC in the Press


  1. Presentation to and feedback from: PGC EXECOM – 2 Nov 2011; ELSI Core Group – 4 Nov 2011; ELSI SAC – 5 Nov 2011; PGC's International Scientific Advisory Board - 28 Nov 2011. Based on comments and feedback received, revisions have been made. More comments and feedback are welcome.