TCA precipitation and cell harvesting

Elliot Lefkowitz Lefkowitz at
Wed Aug 21 18:50:09 EST 1991

In article <20511 at helios.TAMU.EDU>, msw1633 at (WHITSITT, MARK STEVEN) writes:
> Molecular biology at the bench is work intensive, boring and time consuming.  
> Guess you're finding out what the rest of us did when we started.

This is certainly true.

> Oh, and another thing!  Odds are that the protocol you received from wherever is 
> probably pretty close to optimum.  There might be changes that would improve it 
> somewhat, but is the improvement great enough to justify the time spent trying 
> to re-optimize.  Another general rule in Mol Bio is,at least to my thinking is
> unless you are 100% sure that you can make a protocol better, easier, faster, 
> etc., without reducing the quality of the results, you are probably better off 
> not messing with it and just getting the work done.  --- this, btw, is my own 
> sentiment, not necessarily that of my maj prof.---

This I couldn't disagree with more.  All too often, techniques in molecular
biology have been done a certain way because "thats the way it was always
done". True, it may work, but it is often possible to improve on many if
not most of the techniques in use today.  Look at any issue of BioTechniques
and the number of different protocols which are published for preparing 
plasmid DNA. Individual labs frequently change procedures to suit their needs.
I would guess that over 90% of the procedures we use in lab have been 
modified at least once, if not multiple times over the years.

The choice one makes when deciding on to what extent a particular procedure
might be improved upon depends a series of decisions ending up in a cost/
benefit type of analysis, taking into account your time, $$, and the
potential for improvment.  One's ability to correctly make these decisions
is part of the learning process which continues every day of your career.
The decision concerning what aspects of a particular procedure which might
be improved upon also is something one gains experience with over time.
In addition, the only way such experience is frequently gained is just
by trying, failing, trying again, failing again, trying another time...
and finally (hopefully in a reasonable amount of time) succeeding.

Don't be afraid to change a technique. Career advancement could end up
depending on it.


*  Elliot Lefkowitz, Ph.D.     |  University of Alabama      *
*  Lefkowitz at |  Department of Microbiology *
*  Lefkowitz at Uabcmc.Bitnet     |  Birmingham, AL  35294      *

More information about the Methods mailing list