The meeting, organized by the Genetics Society of Chile and the Chilean Society of Evolution, was held for five days at the Catholic Universities of Maule and Talca.
More than 250 people participated in the congress of evolutionary genetics, known as «Genevol», which is held annually by the most prominent Chilean groups in the field. «In my evaluation, everything was excellent. The turnout was much larger than expected, with hundreds of registered participants and presentations of great scientific quality and very interactive,» said Katherine Marcelain, president of the Genetics Society of Chile, one of the organizations that convened the meeting.
Within the framework of the meeting, outstanding researchers developed workshops, symposiums, and posters on subjects related to plants, animals, human beings, and microorganisms. The event took place over five days at the universities Catholic of Maule and Talca.
«One of the transversal concepts was that of ‘One Health’ or Ubuntu, stemming from African philosophy, which assures that people are or exist thanks to other people. The concept is expanding and holds that people also exist thanks to other species, the environment, and our planet. We are all interconnected and whatever affects one component affects the whole», Marcelain pointed out.
For UCM’s Vice-Rector for Research and Graduate Studies, Hernán Maureira, the alliance between universities constituted an «opportunity for scientific reflection». He said, «We are convinced that regional universities are vectors of development in science and technology and that these events serve to direct joint efforts.»
Vivian D’Afonseca, an academic from the Faculty of Medicine of the aforementioned campus, expressed the same opinion.
«This has been decentralizing work, because it allowed us to experience science in a powerful and active way in the regions. There was a spirit of cooperation and union among the universities that can enhance scientific and technological development and that opened up possibilities of collaborations with other institutions at a national level. This showcases the potential of our region», said the doctor in genetics.
The youngest participant
The youngest and most enthusiasted attendee was 12-year-old Renata Torres Genevol’s, who attended every day, without exception.
«I came here every day, the whole day. When my mom couldn’t come with me, I came with my grandmother. She used to say, ‘so little and so skilled,'» young Renata said. «I want to study medicine and that’s why I like to explore all areas. I have loved this experience and, obviously, it would be the most wonderful thing for me to attend another congress,» she said.
Her mother, Viviana Camaño, agreed. «She has shown interest in science since she was a little girl, and, fortunately, here at UCM she has had opportunities, participating as a summer student in a microscopic life program and in the SEED program. That’s where it all began,» she said.
In the opinion of Luis Castañeda, president of the Chilean Evolution Society, the campus facilitated the success of the meeting, which was sponsored by the CIEAM. «The campus is beautiful, and the university atmosphere is palpable; students came to ask questions. Holding the meeting at universities was super good,» he said.