The goal for this summer was to have sampling, DNA extraction, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), and fragment analysis sent off (to be later analyzed) completed on all 400 of the subsamples. Sampling and DNA extraction were finished. PCR unfortunately was not, delaying fragment analysis as well. Though the PCR protocol was developed during spring semester of 2017, new primers and a host of other problems made this step tricky. The first batch sent off for analysis came back blank, requiring adjusting of the protocol and the second had nebulous results. A delay in shipment meant that only 3 of the 7 primers were available for much of the summer. However, all extractions were completed successfully, and in the last remaining weeks of July, PCR was done on all 400 of the plants for 3 of the primers. All PCR products were shipped off for fragment analysis. Training began on using a fragment analysis software, so once results do come back, analysis will be smoother.

Doing research like this is hard because it seems there are always delays and the potential for things to go wrong. It is especially frustrating when things are out of your control, because even if you do everything you can, you are still relying and potentially being delayed by something or someone else. Additionally because scientific experiment requires some sort of linearity, if any one step is delayed, that can delay the entire process making it difficult to work ahead.

I am looking forward to exploring the rest of the data that our research will produce and continue study this fascinating species, and am extremely thankful for this summer opportunity of doing research.