Monday, July 14, 2014

Katherine Vaccaro's Internship, Summer 2014 - Part 3

Hello everyone! I have been busy at work with the samples we collected from our cruise a few weeks ago! I am in charge of looking at the samples under a microscope and isolating whatever ciliates I can find, especially tintinnids. Once I am able to isolate individual ciliates, I place them in microfuge tubes and run a nested PCR to get DNA. Because I am working with only 1 cell, a single round of PCR isn’t enough to produce the amount of DNA needed! So I run a second round of PCR to further amplify the DNA. This was a new procedure for me, and I found it really fascinating to learn! It sure does take a while though :) Usually the two PCR cycles take up to 5 hours!

After I have enough DNA, I have been running the DNA through a 1% agarose gel to separate the bands and hopefully get good results! But, like I said, working with only 1 cell is more difficult and often I don’t get great results. But when I do, it is so, so rewarding!

So here I am, chugging along through samples from the Gulf of Mexico, finding individual cells and taking their DNA. It’s demanding, but I am having so much fun! Hopefully for my next blog post, I’ll have exciting results to share!

Until next time!

Posted By:
Katie Vaccaro, University of West Florida

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