By Daniel Villalobos
This semester of Phage Hunting has been vastly different from what I expected. In the beginning I had no idea what annotating a genome meant. I figured it would likely be a long and tedious process that really didn’t have great importance. After all, I really only wanted to continue with the course so that I could do work with my own phage at the end of the semester. It seemed like a reasonable tradeoff to have to endure the arduous task of annotating the Altwerkus genome in order to return to my own phage which I felt proud of. To my surprise this was not the case.
After the first reading assignment about phages we had at the beginning of the second semester, I was wary that the class I had once enjoyed had changed into something I found boring. This was mostly because I didn’t remember much from my last Biology course during my sophomore year of high school. I realized that I had forgotten quite a bit in the last 2-3 years when the paper assigned for reading seemed to be written in a completely different language I did not understand. This meant that I had to pay attention and take notes during class to ensure that I could remember some elements of biology and understand the material. Surprisingly, the challenge reminded me of the interest I had in biology during high school. I guess all the work annotating the gene and learning about the genome was actually stimulating.
I am excited to return to the “wet lab” in the future once we have finished annotating the genome. It will be an enthusiastic return to my favorite lab of freshman year! I for one can’t wait to start my own project to see whether my phage is able to infect other bacterial hosts besides M. smeg.