Caroline Keroack

Caroline Keroack

Smith College, Northampton MA

Smith College

MSc Candidate, Laboratory Instructor


Published on Mar 29, 2016

Off to a great start!!!

First, let me whole-heartedly thank all of you that have so generously donated so far! We are off to an amazing start having raised almost (edit: over!!) $1,000 in a little over 24 hours. Even if y...

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Published on Dec 03, 2015

Our First COMPLETE Mitochondrial Genome!

Hello everybody,Today I wanted to share with out our first completed mitochondrial genome. I have removed most of the identifying markers from it (because we plan on publishing it!) but we wanted y...

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Published on Nov 12, 2015

Update! It's Finally Happening!!

Hello everyone! I know it's been almost a year since you all so generously funded our research! I am so excited to tell you today that we have FINALLY begun library prep for next generation sequenc...

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Published on Nov 28, 2014

5 more days!!! We broke $2000!! Let's get to $2700!!!

Happy thanksgiving everyone!! I am SO SO thankful for my amazing relatives who have shown amazing support for me over the thanksgiving holiday! I have so much more to be thankful for today! I want ...

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Published on Nov 22, 2014

11 more days! Let's reach $2000

Hello everyone!I wanted to give you a view of what it actually looks like in our lab. Here is one of the fabulous undergrads rocking some gels! With your help and continued support we can keep disc...

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Published on Nov 15, 2014

Mitochondrial what?

I thought I would share with you why were are even trying to sequence mitochondrial genomes in the first place. Mitochondrial genomes possess a wealth of taxonomic information as the gene order in ...

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Published on Nov 12, 2014

Only 3 more weeks!

Hi All!I want to start this note out with some special thanks: I'd like to thank our wonderful lab manager Sue Haynes for her donation, and my lovely cousin Danielle for their generous donations. T...

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Published on Nov 04, 2014

New goal!

Hello again!We have recently been approved for a stretch goal! Our new target is to hit $2700, which would cover the cost of all reagents necessary to perform next generation sequencing (NGS). NGS ...

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Published on Oct 29, 2014

We did it! But this is just a start...

THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR HELPING US REACH OUR GOAL!!! We are unbelievably excited! But we can still use your support. Amidst this exciting news remember we can always use your help spreading the word...

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Great question! We currently do not plan to use the mitochondrial genome to identify the parasites...instead we use a set of 3-5 small "barcoding" genes for molecular identification, including ribosomal and mitochondrial genes. The mitochondrial genomes will become useful for future, simple diagnostics. The mitochondrial genome usually contains 13 protein coding genes, and they are usually conserved across species. However, these genes appear in different orders, and the order of these genes is species-specific. So, you could design a PCR assay to bridge between ATPase6 and NADH2 (for example). If you ran this PCR on a sample containing Anisakis simplex (a gastrointestinal parasite of marine mammals) you would get a PCR product of approximately 1600 basepairs. In contrast, if your sample contained Dirofiliaria immitis DNA (dog heartworm) you would get a PCR product of approximately 5600 basepairs (and so on for many other parasites, because of the various gene orders in mitochondrial genomes). So, you could simply run this PCR, and quickly rule out certain infections without having to do any sequencing at all. So to wrap that all up: we are not using mtgenomes to identify parasites, but rather (hopefully) to quickly narrow down possible sources of infection. Once the potential pathogens are narrowed down, species identification is much easier, because you have far less possibilities to consider. Hope that answers your question!
Nov 15, 2014
Walruses, Whales, and Worms: exploring marine mammal parasitology
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