eye pigment lab protocol

sminnick at umich.edu sminnick at umich.edu
Thu Jun 5 15:12:12 EST 1997

In article <33945FF9.1C82 at umassd.edu>,
  Peter Hodges <phodges at umassd.edu> wrote:
> Does anyone know of a protocol or undergrad lab manual exercise
> examining the eye pigments in Drosophia, and genentic variants?
> How complex is the extraction and separation? (freshman level?)
> thanks
> Peter Hodges
> U Mass Dartmouth

I assume you mean a chromatographic separation?  I just tried this myself
for the first time recently.  I used the protocol in "Genetics Laboratory
Investigations" by Mertens and Hammersmith (Macmillan Publishing 1991). 
It's very simple!

Crush two flies on filter paper, about 1 inch from the bottom edge. 
Place the filter paper in solvent (1:1 mix of 28% ammonium hydroxide and
n-propyl alcohol)  so that the flies are just above the liquid.  Keep in
a dark place for about 90 minutes and then view with ultraviolet light. 
That's it!

I found the solvent fumes to be rather unpleasant and would recommend
performing the chromatography in a fume hood or vented cabinet if
possible.  And, undergraduates should probably be supervised when using
an ultraviolet light, but it certainly seems workable.

I'm the lab supervisor for the undergraduate genetics lab course here at
the University of Michigan, and we are seriously considering adding this
to our Drosophila experiment for the fall semester.

Hope this helps,


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