Posts by: ajp


Summer DNA Workshop

Everyone came with boundless enthusiasm and energy for the DNA workshop on Sunday in the London HackSpace.  There was great DIYBio in the new lab and people helping each other out loads to understand the fundamentals or the practicalities of pipetting, thermocycler, enzymes etc. The first step of DNA extraction started in the kitchen.  We used a small amount of slightly salty water to get some of our cheek cells… whilst trying not to laugh 😹 Then we went down to the lab and started the protocol to extract DNA from our cells. The DNA extraction didn’t use an alcohol step like ethanol or isopropyl alcohol, just centrifugation, heat and a lot of pipetting.  Here you can see the cells already starting to precipitate even before the centrifugation: Credit to Juris for taking some fantastic photos.  I saw a lot of other photos being taken so workshop attendees, please feel free to share them on the slack channel, twitter, meetup.com or the mailing list 😁 We were shortly joined by 3 more keen bio labbers and eventually had a total of 9 samples in different stages of DNA extraction.  And so commenced a lot of centrifugation, and careful pouring and pipetting to remove the supernatants (the liquid above the “pellet” of cells left in the bottom): We put it in the “thermocycler” for 99oC “cook” for 10 minutes to hopefully break open the cells and release their DNA.  Then followed even more careful pipetting!… ah the life of a biochemist: Finally after almost three hours we had our samples of DNA from everyone, and set the lactase SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) PCR running in the Bento Lab thermocycler: We broke for a well deserved lunch break and everyone washed their hands before they left the lab! 🙂  After lunch...

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Microscopic world

As the lab has got a lot tidier and lab like recently we’ve had more opportunities to start having fun in it. We’re fortunate to own several microscopes which we have used to look at some of the local flora (green algae we got from the window shelf outside and cultured up): And an Aloe Vera stem:

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