This week back from February back, centered around one laboratory experience: PCR. After having learned about the Polymerase Chain Reaction and electropheresis in our 4.3 Biotechnology Vodcast, the class had the opportunity to have hands on experience with the technology. Everyone took cheek cell samples from their mouths, separated the DNA, and amplified the samples using PCR. The next day we practiced the delicate process of staining the DNA and placing the tiny samples in the fragile gel within the electrophoresis bath. This was a tremendous hands on opportunity to show us actual experience with working in a bio-lab doing the very things real lab technicians do everyday for important analysis and research. The next day we analyzed the electrophoresis results and measured the bands to see how much of the class was homozygous or heterozygous for the target gene. We then did some calculations to determine if the class was in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and compared our class results to other populations around the world.
By this point, through listening, recording, and hands on participation, I believe I fully understand the majority of the workings of PCR and gel electrophoresis. Enough so I could explain the process to make it intuitively obvious to even the most casual observer. During the lab however my DNA did not register in the electrophoresis. I messed up somewhere along the line during the lab work. I don't have a particular salivating mouth so I likely had a small spit sample to begin with. I had a very small pellet after the centrifuge and I believe I accidentally sucked up some of the small sample through pipetting later. This was likely the cause of my poor gel results. I just need a little more practice with this particular lab is all, likely a second run I would have produced results having already gone through the procedure once.