Well the Nam Kading Samples are here, so let the processing being.
First step… Get the poo out.
So in my last post I showed you how samples get to me. But here’s the up close and personal. Samples are shipped to me in bags, hundreds upon hundred of bags. I’m pretty sure we keep the ziploc company in business all on our own. From there I go about sealing them for storage. As you can see (above) I am all about repetition when it comes to sealing these things shut. Each is in a tube, with a cap screwed on, with a layer of parafilm (a material sort of like plastic wrap with some crazy holding abilities) and then the whole thing is taped shut. Mostly because I don’t want to loose any of my sample… and partly because its pretty gross if its leaky.
Step Two… Get the DNA Out
There is actually two kinds of DNA in your cells, and I want both. You have nuclear DNA (the one you always hear about, Some from your mom and some from you dad) and you have Mitochondrial DNA (all from mom). For every cell you only have two strands of Nuclear DNA, so its a little harder to get at then Mitochondrial DNA where every cell has about 1000-2000 mitochondria, and each of those has its own DNA.
But getting it out is actually a process in itself.
To summarize quickly, first the samples get to spend the night in a nice warm bath that gently rocks them back and forth. Sounds peaceful right? But in reality they’re in a solution that is tearing them apart. Ripping open the cells the DNA calls home.
Day two, basically just a lot of cleaning. We spin it over and over again in lots of different chemicals that eat away everything we don’t want and in the end… DNA.
Step Three… Replicate
Like I mentioned before, there are only 2 strands of DNA in every cell. That’s not a lot to work with. So we replicate it, so there’s billions! Its actually a lot easier than you would think. Honestly, you just put the DNA in a thermocycler with all sorts of chemicals one would normally find in the body. A thermocycler is essentially a system of hot water baths that can rip the DNA a part and build new DNA. Its also pretty much the only way to see if everything you did previously actually worked, so potentially we could be doing all this work for nothing….
This is also the step where you will see me pacing around the Lab anxiously waiting the 3 hours it takes to be completed!
Research is fun right?
Step Four…. Did it work?
All this work and you still have no clue if it actually worked. So we run a gel! A gel can sort your DNA by size and thanks to some hardcore toxic chemicals, make it glow (if its actually there that is). I’ve been running 15 samples today to make sure everything worked and……
Eh…Didn’t really get what we were hoping for… Although those are some pretty negatives ahaha