Hey everyone! So I realize I haven’t blogged in quite some time, though in my defense, we had to do some EPIC planning for our April Fool’s day joke (que in LOTR music). In lab, we’ve reached the point where virtually everyone is at a different point in lab and no two groups are doing the same thing. We (Greg, Malisa, and myself) are slowly but surely catching up to speed – we had some contamination issues with our original DNA extract from the norway spruce pine needles. Our isolated cultures looked GREAT – we got a variety of colonies including orange, white, reddish/pink, and cream color! Sadly, our slimy lawn of clear liquid didn’t yield any culture, but I heard that another group did actually obtain clear colonies, which is pretty cool. We did a ‘dirty’ DNA prep on these isolates, essentially boiling and lysing the cells and extracting DNA in only a few steps (no Quiagen kit required!). We prepared a PCR for all of our isolates, and when we checked via gel electrophoresis, low and behold we got 1 band! Considering our bad luck with original DNA extract PCR, we were THRILLED to see atleast 1 culture’s 16s sequence get amplified! Oh! I almost forgot to say – we did our very first Gram staining! Gram staining was a nice change from all of the PCR and culturing techniques we have been focusing on. It was fun to prepare our slides using the different dyes and then actually being able to look at our individual bacteria. We got a nice diverse group of bacteria ranging from gram positive spherical bacteria to gram negative rod shaped bacteria – no spiral shaped bacteria though, which was upsetting. I believe our plans in lab for this week are to continue working with our PCR samples (Malisa was awesome enough to come in over the weekend and do a ligation of our successful PCR), though I must say I am pretty excited to disect plant anatomy! I personally never learned plant anatomy (not even in AP bio!), so everything I learned today in lecture was completely new. Not so surprisingly, I thought the meristems and plant vascularization were pretty interesting. I was so taken back by thinking about a plant having stem cells – I never think of plants in a scientific way in so far as they too must grow and develop from one cell. Alas, I shall never think of plants in such a naive way again…thank you, Jon Wilson! Well, that is all I have for now…I will let you all know how plant dissection goes tomorrow!