We have been busy setting up and bringing online our lab space. We now have most everything we need, including:
With this equipment we have been able to grow bacteria and harvest DNA/RNA from them. We just finished building a DIY electrophoresis rig which we are testing. This will allow us to confirm presence and rough concentration of DNA/RNA harvested.
Meanwhile, we built a gene gun from a solenoid, a relay timer, some fittings, and an air compressor (the helium tank/regulator are coming). This set-up fires tungston nanoparticles coated with DNA into cells or tissues. We prepare the nanoparticles with spermadine and prepped plasmid DNA. This plasmid is a test, and produces a GFP in plant cells.
Things seem to be working so far! We had some expression of GFP. The next step here is to optimise the protocol, with the helium tank as needed. We also want to explore ways of increasing the chance of DNA being integrated into the plant chromosomes.
We are always looking for new, inexpensive DIY protocols, plasmids, and strains.