This experiment is part of the Arachnids Challenge Grant. Browse more projects

The pursuit of happiness: The basis of color in the happy face spider (Theridion grallator)

Stanford University
Stanford, California
DOI: 10.18258/7860
Grant: Arachnids
Raised of $2,500 Goal
Funded on 11/04/16
Successfully Funded
  • $2,806
  • 112%
  • Funded
    on 11/04/16

DNA sequencing?

So-how do we get the genome of a happy face?

I don't know who drew this picture, but it's fabulous...

To extract DNA, we first add our small spider to some enzymes which break down the hard outer layers of the spider's cuticle. The cuticle is made of a super hard substance called chitin. We usually add heat to this part, to make it easier for things to break down. We then put this through a filter, to filter out all the spider parts!

After we break down the insect cuticle, we can start breaking down the cell parts which are not DNA, so we use other batches of enzymes to remove things like proteins, RNA, and to break down the nucleus of the cell so that the DNA is actually exposed. 

We then can use something called a qubit or a nanodrop to estimate how much DNA is in our final sample. These use light wavelengths to determine the concentration of DNA.

Next, we can prepare the DNA sample for whole-genome sequencing!

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