Saturday, 16 March 2013

PhD week 54: Primers

A critical part of the process of sequencing DNA involves the development of primers. These are short stretches of DNA that bind to the gene of interest in the specimen DNA and provide a starting point to copy that gene. Two primers are required for amplication in PCR in order to amplify both strands of DNA and get the eponymous chain reaction. The easiest way of designing primers is to use ones that other researchers have used sucessfully for related organisms. Primer sequences are usually published in papers, and it is a simple matter to get them made. However, there is no standard convention to naming primers, which can be annoying at times. My preference is that the name include the name of the gene, the direction of the primer, and some measure of the position of where the primer binds to the gene. Unfortunately, many published primers lack some (or all!) of this information, which can make it tricky to make decisions as to which primers to try out. The primer numbering system of Simon et al is, in my opinion, a good model to follow.

   Ferngren GB (Editor). 2002. Science and Religion. A Historical Introduction Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press
   Hughes P (Translator). 1937. Meditations for Lent from St. Thomas Aquinas. London: Sheed and Ward
   Proverbs 20–21

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Vanna—And They Came Bearing Bones

Twelve weeks of Star Trek:
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