The new molecular genetics lab at Cincinnati Museum Center is slowly coming together. Supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation this lab will provide the instruments needed to apply molecular genetic tools in research in ecology, evolutionary biology and molecular systematics. The centerpiece of the lab is an automated capillary electrophoresis machine, also known as an automated DNA sequencer, manufactured by Applied Biosystems. We received a new lab bench to support this valuable instrument and provide much needed workspace. We also had to run a new electrical line to supply 220V, 30A power to the sequencer. Researchers from partner institutions such as Xavier University and Thomas More College will be touring the new lab soon and start bringing in students to gain valuable skills in cutting edge molecular genetic tools. The lab is getting some attention in the community as well and a story by staff reporter James Ritchie appears in the Buisness Courier of Cincinnati.
Yesterday I ran the very first polymerase chain reaction EVER at Cincinnati Museum Center. This technique used to copy a specific region of an organism's genome is the backbone of modern molecular genetics. Our first reactions were a test run of some genetic sexing reactions amplifying a seqment of the sex-linked chromo-helicase-DNA-binding gene in Red-shouldered Hawks. This work is done in collaboration with Cheryl Dykstra to learn about growth and development of Red-shouldered Hawk nestlings in Southern Ohio.