Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sure, I can do that

Way back when I was in graduate school, my advisor was co-author of a grant proposal that entailed developing microsatellite markers to obtain population genetic data for the species of interest. I remember her showing me the protocol and saying something like, "wow, this is a ton of work!"

Somehow, that has stuck with me and ever since, and I have assumed that I'd be unable to undertake developing the markers from scratch. For the work I've done so far at my current job, I'm using markers I found in the literature.

Well, I've been thinking about what I want to do next at work, seeing as I'm at a point where this question makes sense, and I thought, "I'd like to have the experience of developing microsats, maybe I should look into that."

And you know what? I can do it. We'll have to buy a few supplies, but it basically involves digesting genomic DNA with restriction enzymes, fishing for the markers you want with probes, and cloning and sequencing the pieces. Of course there's lots of steps, but none of the parts made me think I couldn't do it.

I've been doing a lot of cloning and sequencing lately, so I think maybe that part of it isn't nearly as daunting as it used to be. Perhaps the processes have become more forgiving, both cloning (follow the steps in the booklet), and sequencing (our great tech has the reagents already mixed and all we have to do is one more PCR and he takes it from there).

Funny how that worked. I only considered doing this project in the first place because I was a bit exasperated with the manuscript that never seems to end and was looking around for what I wanted to do (so there!).

Maybe I could be a Turbo Tech when I grow up.

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Hi, sorry to make the humans do an extra step.