Monday, September 4, 2017

Lab Meeting 5: Minor Miracles


The week of the big eclipse, our longsuffering intern came back to town for her final semester at Bryan College.  She had spent the summer interning elsewhere and learning the latest techniques in DNA sequencing.  Her project with us is our ongoing studies of mutant trillium flowers.  We hoped last year to sequence at least one floral gene from our mutant flowers, but our approach didn't work.  Thanks to your support for our building project, we are currently buying the equipment needed to continue this work at the new Core Academy facility.  We are very thankful that we'll be able to streamline our work on this project.

One thing was still lacking though: We don't have a DNA sequencer on site, but our intern shared with me about a new gadget that allows you to sequence DNA using a USB device that plugs into your laptop.  No, I'm not kidding.  For those in the know, it uses nanopore technology, and it's designed for portability.  It's called a MinION, and the starter kit costs only $1,000!  I told her that we were doing really well with our renovation budget, and we would probably have enough left over to buy one.  But we wouldn't know if we'd have enough until the building renovations were done, and by then, she'd be graduated.

The Sunday after we met to talk about the trillium project, a friend came over and slipped me a folded check as I sat in church.  I smiled and thanked him and tucked the check into my shirt pocket.  I had seen him at our eclipse party, and he had mentioned to me that he wanted to make a contribution to our project.  As soon as the service was over, my wife took the check out of my pocket.  "You need to look at this," she said.


I guess we'll be getting our DNA sequencer after all.

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