Friday, February 5, 2010

Heat Blocks and Microscope

The next step in our molecular cloning adventure, is the use of restriction enzymes. These cut at very specific "words" in double stranded DNA. These are quite easy to use, mix DNA (plasmid in this case) with enzyme, incubate at 37C, and then move to 80C for denaturing the enzyme (so it won't cut any thing later).

Only issue is how to heat the tubes. For this we use a heat block. A device that heats a block of metal to a specific temperature.

A 10 minute procedure turned in to an operation of finding the blocks we had delivered few weeks ago. Clearing space for them. Realizing that we don't have sufficient electricity outlets there. Finding a power strip. Fixing the electricity outlet above the bench to accept modern power plugs (dismantling the plastic covers of each and using a drill widening the holes). This took half the morning.

Once we had everything in place, the protocol was very straightforward. Unfortunately, the confirmation gel that Avital run didn't show any product, suggesting something was wrong.

On other fronts, yesterday we had a delivery of a new bunch of boxes that contain our own microscope body (the one we have is a demo). And next week we will have an installation, there by increasing the faction of the microscope that is actually ours.

In the mean time, our next door neighbor, Sebastian, came to use the microscope to do an experiment that they were stuck on. It took about half an hour to set the acquisition. It took a bit more to get the analysis going, but all by all it was surprising the ease by which we managed to get a fairly large measurement going for him.

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