Comparing Viral Communities Using RAPD-PCR and Gel Electrophoresis

These past few weeks I have been working on using the viral concentrates I made for RAPD-PCR and gel electrophoresis. To make a viral concentrate, I filter off the bacteria and centrifuge the water samples at 38,000 rpm to force the viruses to the bottom of the centrifuge tubes. I then re-suspend the viruses in a much smaller volume. I have 27 viral concentrates to make gels for, plus the water samples I will continue to collect until October.

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Arriving in Perú

(Because of limited internet in Perú I wrote my journal/posts on paper, and am now typing what I wrote during the actual experience.)

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The Age Differential of Women Interviewed

I am becoming aware of trends from the answers we receive to our interviews. We have spoken with a few mothers who are younger than I am, ranging to women in their 40s. I consistently notice a difference in answers and interactions based on the age of the woman. Most that are under 25 also speak excellent English, to the point where we can ask most of the questions without a translator. I wonder if the differences come from technology advances or from schooling advances. These women also have a better knowledge of essential hygiene and hand washing practices.

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Ethnographic Research with Other Community Members

I found during most interviews, the men were not present. The community consists mostly of  farmers and the men were generally out in the field when we would conduct interviews. In some cases, other men or women would be present during the surveys (which was always noted in our records). We found that men were active in answering the questions, and in some cases, active in child care decisions. We wanted to understand who was primarily responsible for care of children and what shared understandings among community members existed with respect to health. We asked the mothers if their understanding of health practices was shared by other members of the household, but we were also able to obtain information from conversations with other caregivers. There seemed to be a lot of continuity within each household.

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