By Avania Duca
Remember when you started elementary school and your teacher told you to put your name on all your supplies? From your Rug Rats pencil case to your Teletubbies umbrella; everything was labeled in big letters for the world to see! Teachers and parents wanted there to be no confusing your things from those of others. Well, the same is true in the lab. Labeling is extremely important. Only now we don’t adorn our supplies with our full names; initials and abbreviations are enough. Labeling is no less important; recording the pertinent information reduces tension and confusion down the road. Take it from one who knows.
When performing scientific procedures, it is vital to make sure everything is labeled properly. The main objective of the DNA purification experiment is to isolate and purify phage genomic DNA in high amounts to analyze and eventually sequence. This is really important! When completing the DNA purification procedure, I made the mistake of labeling the microcentrifuge tubes instead of the columns inside of them. The first time I performed this purification, I was unsure of what was the most important product in this procedure – the supernatant liquid or the columns. In this case, the COLUMNS were key to obtaining the purified DNA because DNA is eluted from the column with a buffer in order to be analyzed.
After centrifuging both of my microcentrifuge tubes with the columns in them, I had to transfer the columns to new microcentrifuge tubes. Somehow a third microcentrifuge tube with a column in it appeared and I was confused as to which columns were mine. If I had labeled each of my columns, there would not have been any confusion. Labeling is a simple task that saves time, helps one stay organized and eliminates repetition and tension, just like those wise elementary school teachers told us.