WhAAAAATTT? CAAATTT?: Week 7 and Adventures in DNA Analysis

Last week, I sent off forty samples to be analyzed. Thus, this week has been about DNA analysis. It’s definitely interesting to see all the combinations that can be made with just four letters (ACTG). Well, unless it’s RNA, then it’s AUGC.

The process for identification is the follwing:

After sending the samples off to a company to be read, the file comes back electronically. From there, the sequences needed to be plugged into a computer program that shows all the letters in a row. Sometimes there can be 1500 letters in a row! Then, the second row needs to be aligned with the first row (as DNA has two strands). That takes awhile. Finally, the sequence aligned must be plugged into a couple of different online programs to be identified. It’s definitely interesting to see what the computer programs identify the bacteria to be!

After seeing so many letters, I decided to make up a silly story involving base pairs (ACTG and AUGC). Look for them below!

Once upon a time, there was DNA and RNA. However, RNA was established first. DNA and RNA decided to greet each another and be friendly. RNA said, “whUTs up?” while DNA, with more poise and class responded in kind, “whATs up?” The first language barrier was formed. Even though DNA and RNA may have been different and may have thought, “ATTTTTTAAAAACCCCC!” when seing each another, they eventually learned to work together and use a process called replicATion.

Later on, more individuals evolved. Creatures such as CATs and creatures that went, “CACA! CACA!” were very popular. Both were arranged rather frequently.

Pop culture finally made it’s way onto the scene millions of years later and soon, individuals discovered TATs (tattoos). Not only that, but music, not just letters stringed together, became mainstream. GAGA anyone?

Even classier though, ACTC (AC/DC).

And…that’s my quirky story. TATA!

This coming up week will have me introducing bacterial DNA from Commencement Bay into E. coli cells. From there, the cells will be grown up. The DNA will then be extracted from those cells and sent off to have their sequences analyzed. Then, the plugging in the data into computer programs starts again.

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