Exploring the genes of the green Anolis carolinensis and sharpening our PCR and gel electrophoresis skills!

Figure 1: Corbin heating up the agarose gel mixture

16 February 2024

By: Ashley Bass and Corbin Carlson

Throughout the last couple of weeks, we have been exploring numerous genes of the green anole lizards (Anolis carolinensis), specifically ZBTB11 and BID.  The ZBTB11 gene regulates transcription, and BID regulates apoptosis. So far, their role in green anole seasonal reproduction is unknown.  We have made immense progress on gene research, and we have ordered and received our primers that we have designed in lab.  During this time, we have also been sharpening our PCR skills in the laboratory, in which PCR allows us to replicate a specific segment of DNA. Additionally, we have been aspiring to improve our gel electrophoresis skills and continuing to practice that in lab.

After conducting several PCR trials, we have gained a better understanding of the specific details within the protocol.  Similarly with gel electrophoresis, we have exercised our skills in making gels, pipetting, gel imaging, and effectively analyzing our gels. We have been repeating these two processes and protocols with the hope of continuing to improve. We have also just started our PCR protocol for our primers that we had designed.

Figure 1: Ashley pipetting DNA samples into agarose gel wells.

As we enter the following weeks of conducting PCR trials with our specific ZBTB11 and BID genes, we hope to use our learned skills of PCR reactions and gel electrophoresis to jumpstart our next goal. Unlike the β-actin gene, with its universal expression across eukaryotic cells and well-understood amplification conditions, the ZBTB11 and BID genes present us with a new challenge. Our task has now evolved from simply conducting successful PCR and gel electrophoresis to meticulously determining the unique conditions required for the successful amplifications of these specific DNA sequences in preparation for next semester. This challenge, while seemingly daunting, is an opportunity to deepen our understanding and refine our problem-solving skills through the rest of the semester, and onward to future years in our scientific education.

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