I’ve been learning a lot about lab work these past couple of weeks. I have been working with fin clip tissue samples from Arctic Grayling from across the state of Alaska. I’ve learned how to isolate, and then amplify DNA from these samples in order to have it sequenced and identify genetic variations between specimens. In order to isolate the DNA from a sample, it is first incubated in a solution that breaks down the sample. Next a solution is added to cause the proteins to fall out of solution, and all of this is spun in a centrifuge in order to create a pellet of protein at the bottom of the vial. The remaining liquid, containing the DNA, is poured off into another vial containing isopropanol, which causes the DNA to fall out of solution. This mixture is then once again put into the centrifuge, this time to create a pellet of DNA to form. After this is completed, the isopropanol is poured off, and replaced with a 70% ethanol mixture. The ethanol in the mixture causes the DNA to remain in a pellet, while the water causes it to go back into solution, resulting in a pellet which usually remains attached to the bottom of the vial, but is unstable. The ethanol mixture is then removed with a vacuum leaving only a pellet of isolated DNA which can then be used in later process’. I also recently learned how to amplify certain sections of the DNA, but I don’t quite understand it fully yet, so I’ll be explaining that in the next few days.
My name is Zach and this blog is to document my experiences during my participation in the Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program. The Hutton program is for juniors and seniors in high school who are interested in the fisheries field. The program gives preference to women and minority applicants because one of the goals of the program is to increase participation of these groups in the fisheries field. Accepted applicants are paired with a mentor in their community to work under for 8 weeks in the summer. The student and the mentor each have to submit a couple of reports to the American Fisheries Society to demonstrate progress and achievements. Also, for participation in the program, students are awarded a $3000 dollar scholarship. The money, combined with the valuable experience of working under an experienced mentor for a summer make this an incredible opportunity for anyone who wants to go into the fisheries field.