Neurospora Methods Manual

Jennifer Loros Jennifer.Loros at
Tue Mar 14 15:54:37 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
	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 laboratory success.  

	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 Neurospora labs.  

We request:

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 3-ring binder.   

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 #'s.  

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

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.  


Jennifer Loros
For the Neurospora Policy Committee
Dept. of Biochemistry
Dartmouth Medical School
Hanover, NH  03755-3844
jennifer.loros at

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