DNA isolation from agarose gels

Hiranya S. Roychowdhury hroychow at NMSU.EDU
Thu Mar 18 12:40:05 EST 1999

At 10:59 PM 3/17/99 -0600, Jesse J. Parry wrote:
>Okay, so not everyone has loads of cash around to buy kits.  However, if the
>funds are there, then why not buy the things.  Also, that comment, "Building
>and optimizing your own processes can help keep the mind flexible enough to
>create hardware or methods that can address problems that are
>now insoluble (unsolvable?)" is great if you have one or two protocols to do
>all the time, but for the typical grad student, you have 89 million
>experiments to do.  Thus, kits provide a great way to cut down the time it
>takes to perform agarose-DNA purification and other procedures as well.
>Like I really want to spend a week "refining" a protocol that I could put in
>a publication, when I could get loads of results in a week that I could put
>into a publication instead.
>By the way, Geneclean III Kit is an excellent kit for purification of DNA
>from solution or agarose gels (whether they be TAE or TBE).
>Jesse Parry
>casshan at siu.edu

Getting a Ph.D.is also about training and learning. "Refining a protocol",
as  you put it, requires that one also understands the basic workings of the

        If, as a graduate student, one devotes the extra time to learn the
basics and principles behind the protocols and methods in use, then s/he
does not have to later wonder about the difference between "moles" and "Molar". 
        I have met Post-Docs, in molecular biology field, that do not know
how EtBr works, or why you need to siliconize glass wool, or how to
calculate the molarity of a standard nucleic acid solution. I have seen
people unnecessarily baking nylon membranes to fix nucleic acids. 
        I have seen a graduate student, about to defend, who did not know
that the bands on the 1kb DNA ladder cannot be used to quantify the plasmid
on the gel the same way as is done with the HindIII-digested lambda DNA. 
        Such anecdotal references serve to remind us that there is
absolutely no substitute for understanding "how the wheel works" even if we
don't need to re-invent it. we do not really need to build a "power supply"
for electrophoresis, etc., but we need to understand that the power supply
can supply a fatal jolt... and, to understand that, we need to know the
physics behind electrical current.   

Dr. Hiranya Sankar Roychowdhury
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, NM 88003
Ph. (505) 646-5785
hroychow at nmsu.edu

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