Prolific panoply of protocols, practices, and procedures

Tom Knight tk at
Wed Jun 13 10:26:54 EST 2001

John Musa <sunset_crashpad at> writes:
> Has anyone written these books yet? Molecular Biology for Dummies or the
> Idiots guide to Laboratory Research. The current protocol bibles
> available just don't cut it on all things leaving me perplexed. I wish
> everyone would just standardize and agree to do things in a common way.
> I'm bewildered...

I sympathize.  One of the problems is that optimized protocols tend to
be long and involved, while much simpler techniques often work in easy
cases.  Another is that there is a tendency to provide recipies rather
than reasons, which promotes the idea that there is magic, rather than
science involved in the choice and amounts of reagents used.  I'd
suggest that you ask yourself (and eventually, perhaps, others) *why*
a particular chemical is used/required, and to only reluctantly accept
the "because we've always done it that way" answer.  Here's two
suggestions to get you started, which I don't think have been mentioned:

Barker, Kathy; "At the Bench: A Laboratory Navigator," Cold Spring
Harbor Press, 1998.  This is a great book to read and absorb wisdom

Winfrey, Michael R, Rott, Marc A, and Wortman, Alan T, "Unraveling
DNA: Molecular Biology for the Laboratory," Prentice Hall 1997.  This
is a series of lab exercises taught over a two week period to high
school teachers and others -- quite elementary, but with a lot of
idiot-proof detail, and relatively simple protocols that work.

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