Today's news is full of the impact of genomic and genetic technologies on the lives of ordinary people - ever wanted to find a way to introduce this material in high school or college biology lab classes, but thought it was too expensive, and too complicated? Perhaps you wondered about setting up your own 'garage lab' for fun and interest, but weren't sure where to start, what you need, and what you could really do with it?
The reality is, it's now possible to set up a simple molecular biology lab in a small educational or hobbyist setting for about $500. Online sources like eBay (or sometimes even Craigslist, if you're near a major metropolitan area), or local sources like university surplus sales, can outfit you with everything you need in a matter of weeks. Done properly, it's simpler, cheaper, and has less hazardous chemicals than for instance setting up a photographic darkroom.
What do you need to do this? A basic list of equipment would include:
|Thermocycler||Mini electronic balance||Microwave oven|
|Agarose Gel box||Microcentrifuge||pH meter|
|Electrophoresis power supply||Transiluminator|
|Pipettors - 10 ul, 200 ul, 1000 ul||Camera|
For a more detailed reference, including sources used and pricing on both equipment and consumables, check out this publication by PathoID's founder and CSO:
Once you've got your lab set up, what can you do with it? Among the simplest tests you can do are simple genotyping tests on yourself. Starting from easily obtained samples (buccal cell, or cheek scraping, samples are a good starting point), you can use this simple list of equipment to analyze your own genome for any single marker - such as Single nulceotide polymorphism (SNP), insertion/deletion (indel), or Variable Tandem Nucleotide Repeat (VNTR) - with only a few dollars in reagents and a few hours time. If you're feeling adventurous, you can develop your own chemistry and design your own assays.
Feeling less adventurous, or don't want to have to buy large commercial scale lots of reagents to make your own chemistires? PathoID's Educational and Hobbyist Series Kits are just what you're looking for! We sell kits for sample collection and extraction, for PCR amplification of an ever growing number of interesting and educational targets, and for helping detect and analyze your reaction products. Our kits are self contained, with minimal numbers of reagents or supplies to be provided by the end user; they contain simple but informative Product Inserts, explaining how to use the product (including background information and interpretation results for assay kits); and they come in convenient, economical sizes for the small educational or home hobbyist setting.
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