Setting up a new mole biol laboratory

WS via (by novalidaddress from
Mon Sep 22 16:39:14 EST 2008

Dear Yg,

basically, you already have mentioned all you need.

It might be a good thing to think of the regulations for work with
GMOs (which standards to follow to please administration and
government) and to apply for necessary permits before you start,

Another point is to set up a system for tracking plasmids, primers and
GMOs (a small homebrew database with eg. Filemaker or something
similar should do it).

The most important ingredient might be a senior postdoc or technician
who is really familiar with molecular biology, knows all the nasty
tricks and how to avoid overpriced nice looking boxes containing
'super duper' kits for things that may be achieved much cheaper and
faster with homebrew methods and reagents (you might browse our
archives here and ask the wise guys of this NG any time).

One thing you maybe have omitted in your list is a well assorted set
of basic enyzmes and chemicals. Some vendors have special offers for
starting labs, so it might be worth to ask your favorite supplier for
a decent discount on that what you need. Also access to a source of
crushed ice and a quantitative realtime cycler (depending on your
scientific tasks) might be a plus. Also do not forget a household
microwave oven to boil agarose. A laminar flow actually is not really
necessary at all, at least as long as you do not need to protect
yourself from your bugs or work in an environment full of molds and
If you should want to perform sensitive PCRs or even diagnostics,
strongly consider separate rooms for assembling PCRs and running/
analyzing them.

Regarding geldocs systems, a cheap digital camera, equipped with an
orange filter should and a close-up lens do the job as well. For
cloning purposes, instead of a UV transilluminator, you better use a
blue LED light source. UV nicely kills DNA almost instantly. You may
get a small one for quite cheap together with a box of pre-cast
agarose gels in an orange plastic box which makes up a perfect filter
for EtBr an CyBrgreen (when cut in pieces. Thinking of Cambrex, now
part of Lonza). As an alternative to a water bath, thermocyclers so
nicely may be "abused" as programmable incubators...

What you won't need is a 2D gel system (at least for ordinary cloning

Best of luck and happy cloning!


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