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Spidermonkey's Sporadic Lab Stuff

by Spidermonkey

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Hello World from the lab!

Part spider - part lab monkey, will do science for cash, strawberries, or for a place to be that's out of the rain (but preferably for cash).

The rest of what I get up to goes into the Tunnel of Goats :)

Urgent Science Stuff:

Please help reform English libel law
Current UK libel laws are very bad for science and free speech.

Cool science stuff:

RCSB Protein data bank: Molecule of the Month in alphabetical order

The PCR Song It's the little things that keep you going...

NCBI's Entrez Gene My favourite starting point for finding out what is known about any gene of interest.

NCBI's PubMed Where to go to find pretty much all research published in the last 30 years or so (may go back a lot further now). All newly published research is quickly added to the site.

The Genetic Code - table of the DNA/RNA triplet codes for amino acids. This is how DNA codes for protein.

Another PCR song Disco frenzy :)

Recent visitors

Titrating transfection reagents

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These pretty green cells have been transfected with plasmids for Copepod green fluorescent protein (a slightly different green to that of standard GFP from jellyfish, and brighter too), and for the packaging proteins necessary to make lentivirus. The virus made here will infect other cells and make them glow green. This is just a test to find out the best mix of transfection reagents to use. The main aim after this is to make virus that will make infected cells express my favourite protein tagged with GFP. This is going to be for use with primary cells (eg from liver tissue donated for research use). Such cells are very difficult to transfect (by adding plasmids) so viruses are necessary to get your gene in there.
It means working at a higher level of biosafety, but I work at that level with all my tissue culture anyway for piece of mind. Keeps them uncontaminated by me and vice versa :)

For anyone who can recognise the cell type, I'll be awarding points. And what do points mean? :)
14th Dec 2009, 00:49  


billion says:


I'll pass on the cell type question but dang dawg them cells is purdy.

more! more!

14th Dec 2009, 10:13

Viv says:

points mean prizes but scientists only :)

14th Dec 2009, 15:04

Spidermonkey says:


I was thinking of the eminent FilbertFox for the 'spot the cell type' quiz. I think she's played with these little guys before.

14th Dec 2009, 17:28

Viv says:

i thought that might be who it was aimed at :)

14th Dec 2009, 17:52

hildegard says:

Heh, you know, it would be easier for me to hunt down the cell lines used at your place of work & then stick a pin in the list. I'm not sure that says good things about the way my mind works.

Biology was not my thing - we had an "Animal Club" where unwitting pet-prone children would tend the rodents & amphibians (successively) housed in the biology labs at school. A childhood equivalent to the Tom Hanks role in The Green Mile, with our head of science taking Doug Hitchison's part...

Sometimes, exposure to the harder facts of science can genuinely come too early. ;)

14th Dec 2009, 18:11

MaggieD says:

hahaha! I am so tempted to forward these pics to my daughter and son who are both doing their masters' in different aspects of biological sciency type stuff, but that would mean FF would lose out on the prize, and I would hate to get between FF and anything ......

14th Dec 2009, 19:51

Lyzardly says:

I'm just going to come right out and confess that I'm not certain I understand what you typed about the photo... no way I can figure out a cell type. No way, no how.

But they are very purdy. If someone were to write a poem about those purdy cells, I could analyze it. Otherwise I'm useless. ;)

16th Dec 2009, 02:52

Spidermonkey says:

Maggie, please feel free forward to whoever you want :)
This week's prize is just the thing for the outward bound, adventurous type, combining the the thrill of Versuvious with the taste of a good Stilton. Yes, it's this fabulous cheese crater.

...if the suspense is too much, the answer is here :)

I know I wouldn't be able to tell what they are from these shots (or any really), I'm not that skilled, but I'm sure there are people who could have a good guess. They are commonly used for producing bespoke virus for getting your favourite gene of the moment into other cell types that are difficult to transfect in the more 'usual' ways.

There will be more to follow shortly. Just haven't had chance to sort the images out just yet, but I am still working on it.

18th Dec 2009, 04:31

hildegard says:

"This week's prize is just the thing for the outward bound, adventurous type, combining the the thrill of Versuvious with the taste of a good Stilton. Yes, it's this fabulous cheese crater."

Glorious. A line built to be delivered by the dear departed Humphrey Littleton. :)

18th Dec 2009, 12:30

Spidermonkey says:

He was the master, and it was his voice I was hearing at the time :) I'm glad it's still going though, I think Jack Dee is doing a very good job. Thank goodness we can still get Radio 4.

18th Dec 2009, 18:12

hildegard says:

Ah, now that's where we part company. I'd like them to give Phil Jupitus a quick canter round the job - think he had Humph's ability to play relentlessly straight but still be a benevolent force. Dee is too much of a miserablist for my taste. Groundlessly bitter, rebarbative & depressing, I find I'm turning down the radio between the rounds so I can avoid his link material. Never thought I'd see the day when I voluntarily missed any of ISIHAC.

18th Dec 2009, 18:43

Spidermonkey says:

I know what you mean. I'm not usually a Dee fan (I couldn't get into his sitcom thing at all), although I do appreciate miserable humour on the whole. At first I wasn't sure how this would go but I think he's making his own mark within the world of the game. Following Humph was will always be a tough one, and I'm finding the slight change in tone makes me remember Humph more distinctly, which I like.
Jupitus would be a good one too though, maybe they could share?

18th Dec 2009, 19:20