Jennifer.Loros at DARTMOUTH.EDU
Wed Mar 1 14:47:42 EST 1995
Neurospora Methods Manual
An open letter of invitation to all Neurospora researchers,
As we are all probably painfully aware, manuals of laboratory y
protocols are usually written for and developed from a popular or widely used
research system. Often, in today's research environment, that system is either
mammalian cells in culture or yeast or maybe flies. While many of these
methods can and have been successfully adapted in the laboratory for other
model systems, like Neurospora, the time and effort involved in the adaptation
process itself can be wearying if not prohibitive. In addition, there are many
methods and techniques developed over the years that are specific to the
genetics and physiology of this wonderful experimental system. Many of us
working with Neurospora over the years have wished there was a collection of
modern, easy to understand and replicate, laboratory methods specifically
tailored to Neurospora. Preferably, only tried and truly useful methods would
be included in a carefully screened and edited set of protocols that would
systematically cover and address most approaches used to answer genetic, cell
and molecular questions people are interested in asking today. Such an
admirable collection of methods, providing a widely available and useful
research tool world-wide for the practicing Neurosporologist, might be suitable
for publication. The Neurospora Policy Committee was charged with this
practical mission two years ago at the Fungal Genetics Meeting at Asilomar.
We divided the responsibility among ourselves for collecting written protocols
in a specified area of technique [very generally, DNA & RNA techniques,
Libraries, Transformations including disruption and targeting, Cell
fractionation , Culture in different contexts, Proteins & Microscopy]. We had
a reasonably stringent set of rules for acceptance of a method including that
each participating laboratory document the usefulness of each method by
providing written evidence that said method was in successful use in at least
one other laboratory. Our idea was to come up with something suitable for
publication. Unfortunately, we have made slow progress in assembling a draft
for a Neurospora laboratory methods book. Certainly, we will not have a draft
ready for review by the community at the upcoming Asilomar workshop.
While there is still an interest in working towards a publishable
manual, the interests and needs of the Neurospora community may best be served
on the short term by the immediate assembly of an informal collection of
techniques in current use, hence this letter inviting all Neurospora
laboratories to submit their favorite, tried and true, faithful recipes for
At this time we plan no regular mailing so please pass this request on
by phone or face-to-face communication with other labs. The needs of the
community can be better served at this point by gathering a loose-leaf
collection of commonly and successfully used protocols. If we start with an
involved community and a loose-leaf collection of ever-expanding and up-dated
protocols we might actually make the leap to a more formalized collection
sometime in the future. In addition to "bench" benefits in the way of more
successful experimentation, a further positive outcome might be that trading
protocols will result in more informal communication and collaboration among
All labs with an interest in submitting a protocol (please don't be shy or
think it sounds like too much work. The eventual success of this endeavor
depends on an involved community) arrive at Asilomar at the Fungal Genetics
Meeting with 50 Xeroxed copies of each submitted protocol. We intend to
encourage participation in this way: at the meeting we will collect the
protocols, and will trade one complete collection of each different protocol
for your 50 copies of your submitted protocols-no protocol to submit, no
collection to take home. We will distribute 1 set per lab which can be taken
home and copied.
Each method should preferably be 3 or less pages in length and type-written.
Please punch them for a 3-ring binder.
All labs with an interest in the collection arrive at Asilomar with an empty
Protocols should be accompanied by appropriate references including;
-Any literature references citing this protocol from the submitting lab
or another lab.
-Appropriate historical citation. (for example, many methods have
been developed from or are adapted from either a published method or a
method originating in some other lab).
- Known use of protocols in other labs.
-Names, including lab P.I., addresses, e-mail and snail-mail, and phone
If you would like to participate but do not intend to attend the Asilomar
meeting, please send me your name and address, along with your protocol(s).
One last request. Eric Selker, Jay Dunlap and I all are enthusiastic about
collecting a set of Neurospora experiments suitable for secondary and/or
undergraduate biology teaching. As a teaching organism, Neurospora, with
its lack of pathology, great genetics and highly visible development, both
sexual and asexual, is excellent. If you have a lab already worked up, please
bring a copy to Asilomar or send to me. If we get enough interested people we
could put together a collection available to teachers.
For the Neurospora Policy Committee
Dept. of Biochemistry
Dartmouth Medical School
Hanover, NH 03755-3844
jennifer.loros at dartmouth.edu
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