Wednesday night was the August DIYBio meeting, delayed from our usual ‘third Wednesday of the month’ slot but with a relatively good attendance considering that a lot of people are probably on their summer holidays!
We celebrated the survival of the snails (who now seem to be reproducing busily) but decided that we would wait until the new generation were a bit bigger, and Team Snail were present, before starting our selection experiment.
The main section of the meeting was given over to a presentation by Dr Patricia Linton on the amazing world of molecular biology – it really is amazing! We watched videos of the cell machinery ‘in action’ – animated rather than live action of course – and learned the dos and don’ts of running DNA analysis gels.
There were lots of questions asked (for example, why are photos of DNA fingerprints in black and white? Because the traditional dye only glows under blacklight and is carcinogenic, but newer dyes are available now which are safer and can be seen under normal light) and our kit building team got a lot of expert advice to help with our homebrew PCR machine and gel box.
We also had fun making DNA double helices out of paper. You can download the templates here and have a go if you couldn’t make it to the meeting:http://www.unmc.edu/media/sepa/SEPA_DNAorigami.pdf There’s also a video on youtube of how to fold them up.
The next event will be an Octopus dissection workshop, taking place on Sunday 11th September. Dr Brian Degger will be giving an expert overview on these amazing creatures. Tickets for this full day workshop are limited – they cost only £5 and include lunch (sandwiches, though you might get to eat some of your octopus later if you want). You can get them here: http://octopus.eventbrite.com/
Because of the workshop we probably won’t be having a regularly scheduled meeting in September. So the next general meet up will be on the 19th October, a few days before the start of the Manchester Science Festival! There will be activity on the list before then though, we want to hear how the microbe map is going for a start… and don’t forget to submit your entries to the Microbiology and Art exhibition.
Looking forward to seeing you all soon,