A Pretty Reggular Week! – Week 5 Update

Looking back, it seems like this week was pretty smooth sailing, however it did start with a bump. We have been successfully extracting RNA from embryos that are 4 and 6 days old for a really long time (months in fact). Last week, we tried changing to a younger age and it didn’t work (as somewhat expected). As we wait for the eggs we have to get a little older, we decided to do a few more of the extractions we are comfortable with, to boost our confidence after an unsuccessful week. Unfortunately this didn’t happen.

Our first extraction was a bust. Two out of the four samples we ran were contaminated – a problem we have never faced before. It didn’t make sense, we had run the same protocol, same techniques, same everything as always and for some reason it worked perfectly for two of the samples and not for the others. We can’t even be sure it was contamination – that’s just our best guess – so still, to this day, we don’t know why those samples didn’t work. We hoped that it was just a fluke and tried another sample the next day, hoping for better results, and it worked 🙂 We continued to run extractions for the whole week, using samples we had already frozen, and they were all successful after that weird first one. My lab partner and I have thought about it a lot and we really can’t figure out what went wrong so we are gonna assume it was human error and cross our fingers that it doesn’t happen again!

Practice makes perfect when loading a gel :)

Practice makes perfect when loading a gel :)

We continue to use the formaldehyde gel I discussed in a previous post, which gives good results but restaining it is an overnight process, so it is pretty long and tedious and requires a lot of monitoring (even on the weekend since we ran a Friday gel). It can be annoying but we aren’t too pressed for time (see photo below), and the image we get from this gel is worth the extra wait.

Destaining a gel on a Saturday can be fun!

Destaining a gel on a Saturday can be fun!

Apart from extractions, we spent a lot of time this week organizing. We have been working on this project since last year, so our images, files, and materials have accumulated both digitally and physically. So we made some new computer files, figured out a much needed naming system, and worked through what we have and Marie Kondoed our lab (haven’t watched that Netflix show but this is the correct usage of that term to the best of my knowledge). It’s nice knowing what we have and where to find our data and has made data collection easier already. 

As our eggs are getting older, we will be able to dissect and extract from a later stage next week so there is much anticipation for the outcome of that next week!

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