DNA extractions: the less glamorous but equally important part of our research
We are back in Boston and working on getting our coral samples ready to be sequenced. We have a total of 361 samples that we will sequence. This way, we will be able to characterize the bacteria on each one of these corals, and learn a lot more about all the bacteria involved in causing white band disease. To extract the DNA from the coral, we use microscopic magnetic beads. These beads bind the DNA allowing you to extract it from all of the other components of the coral using the magnet below:
So far, I have extracted 288 samples, and hope to finish the rest soon. To extract 96 samples, we use 1,248 pipet tips. It's quite a thumb workout! Next up, we will run a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for each one of these samples, and then send them off for sequencing! stay tuned!
If you're hungering for some pretty images of the warm Caribbean, check out this video of corals spawning:
Also, look at the write-ups of our trip and crowd-funding success (!) by the Smithsonian and Northeastern: