Update #1: Aneuploidy in yeast

So far this summer I’ve really been enjoying the work that I’m doing in the lab and I’m excited to say that I’m finally starting to get some good results. The first couple weeks of research were slow going as I attempted to figure out how to optimize my experiment. A lot of what I do revolves around extracting DNA, diluting it to the right concentration, and replicating this DNA to try to figure out relative frequencies of different chromosomes. I had to spend quite a bit of time figuring out the optimal concentrations of DNA and primers as well as optimal temperatures to perform some of the steps required to replicate the DNA. I had to get the reaction to work perfectly before I was able to start testing specific chromosomes of strains that I thought might be out of balance.

After the optimization was complete, I was finally able to start going through the different yeast strains one at a time to try to figure out which ones were aneuploid (i.e. which ones had abnormal numbers of chromosomes). My professor had found a research paper that had given a pretty clear description of how to analyze data from this type of experiment in order to determine relative frequencies of the products. Unfortunately, either I was using this method incorrectly or the signal that my professor and I expected to pick up from the data was not nearly as clear as we were expecting it to be.

I am currently trying to figure out a different method for analyzing the data and have started using one which has worked pretty well so far. I’ve constructed standard curves which allow me to determine the starting concentrations of the DNA, allowing me to figure out if a certain chromosome has more copies present than another chromosome. I’m excited to see what the next couple of weeks will bring.