Questions relating to protocols, procedures, and good practice when using laboratory equipment.

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17
votes
3answers
719 views

How long can I store extracted RNA?

If I extract RNA from a (leaf tissue) sample using a one-step phenol:chloroform extraction, how long can those samples be stored at -80°C? And how many times can I defrost and refreeze them before ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

What effect does vortexing have on a fluid sample that simple mechanical shaking does not?

Some protocols call for fluid samples to be mixed with a "vortexer" on the high setting. What effect does the vortexing have on fluid samples that mechanical shaking does not? Does it shear long ...
13
votes
3answers
11k views

What is the difference between HPLC and FPLC and why is FPLC preferable for protein purification?

I've used HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography) before (once, so I'm barely even qualified to know what it stands for) so I was surprised when my labmate told me she would be using an ...
10
votes
2answers
4k views

How do I clean phenol contaminated RNA without losing any of the sample?

I recently extracted RNA from developing plant leaves for the first time, as part of a very long and intensive experiment. The samples were extremely precious because of the amount of effort that went ...
9
votes
1answer
12k views

Why do we add salt when precipitating DNA?

All the DNA extraction protocols I have seen involve adding salts to the extraction buffer. What is the purpose of the salts? What happens if they aren't included?
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Why should I degas my gel solution for polyacrylamide gels?

In protocols for polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) I often see instructions to degas the gel solution by putting it under vacuum for 10-15 minutes before polymerizing the gel. I usually ...
8
votes
2answers
139 views

What type of CCD system is required to take photos of luciferase

I'm working with luciferase and I want to be able to take a photo of it. The trouble is, I can see the luciferase glowing in all of its glory in front of me but no matter how hard I try, I can't take ...
8
votes
3answers
146 views

Does the Petri dish lid orientation on workbench affect aseptic technique?

When examining an incubated plate, it is rather clear that holding the plate in one hand and the lid in another is best for aseptic technique, or simply resting the lid on the plate as shown below. ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I clean and calibrate pipettes, and how often should I do it?

I work in a lab where all the pipettes are shared. We often have visiting students who come and use the pipettes for a short project. So when I work with them, they might have been handled by other ...
8
votes
2answers
74 views

Is there a Reverse Transcription optimization for long, 9kb, transcripts?

Has anyone optimized RT for long transcripts (9kb)? The downstream application will be PCR amplification and Illumina library prep. It will be trivial to make internal primers sets for the PCR that ...
7
votes
1answer
303 views

Can I image Coomassie and GFP in gels at the same time with a fluorescence scanner?

I'm working with a GFP-tagged protein and am routinely using a fluorescence imager (GE Typhoon) and a standard optical scanner to capture fluorescent and absorption images, respectively, of my ...
6
votes
2answers
273 views

Gloves for Cell Culture?

I always wear gloves when I'm doing cell culture. Moreover, I always spray my gloves with ethanol to disinfect, so that I don't contaminate everything. However, I recently heard the argument that ...
6
votes
3answers
125 views

Is there a comprehensive life science techniques/methods database?

There are so many techniques/methodologies in the life sciences that we can use to interrogate interesting questions. The thing is, most of us are completely unaware of the available methods we can ...
6
votes
2answers
357 views

How long can I store autoclaved disposables and reagents?

I want to stock up on autoclaved disposables, such as Eppendorf tubes, pasteur pipettes etc., and some buffers. If I don't open the container after autoclaving, how long can I store autoclaved ...
6
votes
1answer
143 views

What is the best way to express two proteins in a mammalian cell?

I have two proteins and I will be preparing a vector with both genes for stable transfection. Each protein will have their own promoter and I will use piggyBac vector to insert a single cassette with ...
5
votes
2answers
984 views

Is wiping with RNAse Zap enough to destroy RNAse activity?

From the RNAseZap MSDS, it is an SDS at some unknown concentration, maybe with some NaOH? Some other links suggest there is some NaOH as well. The Ambion site states that RNAseZap destroys RNAse ...
5
votes
1answer
154 views

Alternatives to CFU plating for measuring number of viable cells?

I am hoping to measure growth rates of a bacterial culture in several growth conditions. I am concerned that these growth conditions may cause cell death, which would lead to a decreased ...
5
votes
1answer
245 views

What are good practices with reusing desalting columns

At least according to a few sources Prozyme and Protocols-Online, it is possible to reuse desalting columns and since I'm cheap I would like to also. Key things seem to be washing with several column ...
5
votes
1answer
51 views

What method would you use to genotype SNPs in low quality samples?

What method would you use to genotype SNPs in low quality samples? I ideally want to genotype hundreds of SNPs in hundreds of scat samples (very low amount of target DNA, potentially degraded and ...
5
votes
1answer
274 views

Using ion-exchange chromatography to purify DNA from a cell extract - Is DNA more negatively charged then RNA?

When applying this method we have a glass or plastic column of resin which is positively charged. Then we pour cell extract into the column in order to capture the negatively charged particles which ...
4
votes
1answer
204 views

How to avoid air bubbles while pipetting?

I get air bubbles while pipetting small volumes. How can I avoid them ?
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using beta-galactosidase compared to luciferase as a reporter gene?

In the University labs, we have used Beta-galactosidase as a reporter gene to quantify the expression initiated by the stress-response promoter in yeast. This was done by exposing one of the two ...
4
votes
1answer
583 views

Basic step by step methods for PCR & Gel electrophoresis class

I'm teaching a class how to do PCR & gel electrophoresis soon and would like it if you could check through my basic step by step instructions - it's a while since I've done one. Is there anything ...
4
votes
2answers
230 views

Does bleach destroy RNAse activity, and if so, how does it do it?

I am working with RNA samples, and I'm trying to be very careful about RNAse contamination. I have some questions about bleach, though. Some people say that a solution of bleach is enough to destroy ...
4
votes
2answers
480 views

How does formaldehyde/PBS or methanol fixation of cells affect lysosomal pH?

The question is fairly simple - does formaldehyde or methanol fixation in preparation for immunocytochemistry/immunofluorescent staining affect the pH of the lysosomes? Some background: I'm trying to ...
4
votes
1answer
164 views

Is DNA green viewer carcinogenic?

I use DNA green viewer in Lab to see DNA and RNA bands. Some peers told me it is carcinogenic and is not safe. Is this correct? If yes, are there better choices to use in working with gel?
4
votes
2answers
223 views

High Current (Speed) Transfer Buffer Recipe

Does anyone know an effective buffer mix to use for high current Western transfers? We are successfully using the vendor's premixed buffer to transfer a wide range of protein sizes to PVDF membranes ...
4
votes
1answer
59 views

How can I save bacillus strains on filter paper without an -80 degree freezer?

I want to save my bacillus strains but I don't have access to a -80 degree freezer. What are possible alternatives?
4
votes
1answer
145 views

What is a simple protocol for staining cells in suspension?

I am an engineering student studying how electric fields affect cells, specifically the phenomena of electroporation in living cells. I know that electroporation is widely used for introducing genes ...
4
votes
0answers
42 views

Measuring fitness in drosophila

I am planning a fitness assay of Drosophila melanogaster. I'd like to get a good measure of lifetime reproductive success (lrs) but I don't want to count all the offspring produced over a lifetime by ...
4
votes
0answers
45 views

Does preservation in ethanol alter leaf litter mass?

I have benthic samples that were collected with an Ekman dredge from some small ponds. The samples contain quite a bit of coarse particulate organic matter (CPOM, basically dead leaves). I would ...
3
votes
4answers
97 views

Electronic laboratory notebook (ELN)

I have been using old style lab book for some time now but with increasing work on computer and storing sequencing results and gel pictures on computer it would be nice to have everything on computer ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

How can I resuspend a cell pellet without harming the bacteria?

When using a preculture with Ampicillin in my protein expression, I have to get rid of the preculture medium to avoid carrying over too much beta-lactamases that will destroy the ampicillin in the ...
3
votes
1answer
21 views

Changing time and rpm of centifuge

Inspired by this question, I want to ask a question about centrifugation. Suppose a protocol says : 10 min at 2500 rpm . Can we instead centifuge for 5 min at 5000 rpm or 20 min at 1250 rpm ?
3
votes
1answer
66 views

Benefits of CLARITY?

What are the benefits of CLARITY over this technique that was published more than a year earlier? Of course the second technique needs a fancier microscope that is likely more expensive and requires ...
3
votes
1answer
85 views

How do different tissue culture matrices affect background in fluorescent microscopy?

In response to my previous question, I've been reading up a little bit on poly-D-lysine, Collagen I, Collagen IV, laminin, and other tissue culture coatings that promote cell adhesion. I've always ...
3
votes
1answer
18 views

PCR master mix contents

I am running PCR reactions with different sets of degenerate primers and I want to know what should go into the master mix My usual master mix: DEPC water PCR buffer (-Mg) 25mM MgCl2 10mM ...
3
votes
1answer
21 views

Prevalent large (>=90kDa) maintenance protein/loading control

I was wondering if anyone had recommendations for good, large (hopefully 100kDa+), control proteins that would be present in most mammalian cells. I'm working mostly with tissue samples from humans ...
3
votes
1answer
45 views

What makes drosophila eyes red? and is it stable?

I have Drosophila melanogaster which I am doing an eye pigmentation assay on in the future. To do this I will dissolve the heads, 10 of them removed from frozen whole flies, in acidified ethanol for ...
3
votes
1answer
89 views

205 nm UV-Vis readings

Typically we determine the concentration of proteins using a 280 nm reading. However, it is reasonable to use 205 nm. I was curious about the effectiveness of this method.
3
votes
1answer
1k views

What is immunopanning (vs. immunoprecipitation and FACS)?

I had never heard the term before today. From what I can tell, it's using antibodies to purify a cell population of interest. I would appreciate more details, especially in how it differs from ...
3
votes
1answer
266 views

Problem with bacterial transformation with electroporation

I have a problem with a bacterial transformation of a yeast gene that I can not solve. I isolated yeast DNA and did a PCR to get my product. I am using pCGCUm vector with a GFP construct. I digest ...
3
votes
0answers
58 views

For people who work in microbiology labs, what software do you use to manage your strains?

It's just a small microbiology lab that currently records everything on paper, and there's quite few mutants as well. Is Excel commonly used for this sort of thing? Or is there a better software to ...
3
votes
0answers
154 views

How to reduce/eliminate cell clumping in suspension CHO cells, without using an anti clumping agent?

what is the best way to eliminate clumping suspension cells used for transfection. Anti clumping agents interfere transfection and hence can't be used. Though maintaining the cell density low helps, ...
3
votes
0answers
36 views

Can I purify polyhydroxyalkanoates by heating the cells extensively?

Traditional methods of purifying polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) and other bioplastics made by bacteria involve washing the cells with harsh chemicals or strong bases.I'm interested in maintaining the ...
3
votes
0answers
76 views

How do you store membrane proteins?

We're producing some membrane proteins and they aren't amenable to freeze thaws even when we add glycerol. The proteins are solubilized in detergent above the cmc so they should be in micelle form in ...
2
votes
3answers
607 views

Improving Gel Extraction yields

How can I improve my Gel Extraction yields. We use the standard protocol from Qiagen, gel extraction, dissolve in QG buffer at 42C and purify via anion exchange columns. However, with 500 ng we ...
2
votes
1answer
51 views

How to measure quality and quantity of DNA?

I would like to mesure DNA. I quantify the concentration with Qubit fluorometer, but I would like to know also quality of DNA. I try BioAnalyzer (Agilent),but without success. Bioanalyzer measure DNA ...
2
votes
1answer
35 views

Substitute 25mM dNTPs mix with 10mM dNTPs

I need to make a solution of multiple compounds, one of them is dNTPs. The recipe calls for 20 μl 25 mM dNTPs in a 1250 μL master mix. Unfortunately I do not have it available at that concentration, ...
2
votes
1answer
60 views

Plasmid maintenance

I have obtained some plasmids used as integration vectors, this question may apply to all plasmids. I would like to have a somewhat continuos source for these plasmids, let's say that the origin of ...