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 How to start? 
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Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 1:34 pm
Posts: 21
Post How to start?
Hey there,
I am fascinated by genetics and biotechnology ever since I first read "Jurassic Park" when I was six and thought of the endless possibilities given by that kind of technology, which unluckily doesn't mean I've put much effort into learning more about this, as everyone told me "This is very very very complicated, yadda yadda" just like with computers (also the reason I only started with computers in the 9th grade - just to discover how easy it was for me)

So after I learned that there are people actually experimenting in their garages, and not being multi-millionaires, I thought "Let's give it a shot"...

I don't have much more knowledge then Mendel's rules about inheritance and a few random bits like that it is possible to cut DNA/RNA strands with restriction-enzymes, ribosomes are used to copy DNA, and the Adenine-Thymine/Guanine-Cytosine combination.

So I wanted to ask what a good starting point for me would be, I'd be happy about a few advices for books to increase my knowledge as well as hardware and advices for a few simple experiments and the costs for them(Just use the costs in your country, as I don't think there are many Germans around here...).

Anyways, I'm happy to be here and would even be more happy to exert my second major interest as a hobby, too.

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Sat Oct 11, 2008 2:18 pm
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Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:19 am
Posts: 195
Location: Sweden
Post Re: How to start?
The proverbial 'hands-on imperative'. There are a lot of very good books out. If you are ok with torrents there is a biology section in the "Great science textbooks library" series which is very comprehensive. There is a new one of those out every or every second month. That section usually has very good books on molecular biology. There is also the Primer for synthetic biology.

As of projects good projects to start with I don't really know. The diybio group seem to have started out with trying to find alternative(cheap) ways to do electrophoresis. There are people extracting DNA and sending it for sequencing. Other than that I don't really know. People showed up from nowhere for the io9 competition. The community is not exactly organized(yet) and a lot of us are at the same level.

Welcome btw :wink:

-Splicer

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Sat Oct 11, 2008 5:53 pm
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Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:19 am
Posts: 195
Location: Sweden
Post Re: How to start?
I was talking to maradydd on an irc channel called diybio on freenode two days ago. Her first project is GFP Yoghurt. Apparently there have already been people(read students) making and drinking GFP beer.

She and a few others have talked about the possibility of building a melamine indicator. I think indicators and GFP experimets may turn out to be the obvoius entry points into biological engineering. Getting GFP to express in an organism seems to me to be the biological engineering version of 'Hello World'.

-Splicer

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Mon Oct 13, 2008 10:56 am
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Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 1:34 pm
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Post Re: How to start?
Are you talking about GFP-beer like "beer which emits a greenish glow in the dark" ?

That would be awesome.
Much flashier then writing std::cout("Hello World!"); :)

But what kind of equipment would that require?

PS: Thanks for the "Primer of Synthetic Biology" !

_________________
All your bases are belong to us.

GCS/MU/S d@ s:-- a--(?) C++++ UL+++ UB>+++ U*>++(++++) P++ !E W++++(!) N+(!) K++>+++++ w--(!) PS+++ !PE Y+>++ PGP?>++ tv(!) b++(++++) DI- D++ G>++


Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:30 pm
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Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:19 am
Posts: 195
Location: Sweden
Post Re: How to start?
phryk wrote:
Are you talking about GFP-beer like "beer which emits a greenish glow in the dark" ?

Yeah, I think GFP glows without a lightsource. Maradydd had apparently met the person who made and drank the beer irl. I suspect it possibly may be something he wouldn't want his faculty to know about so he may not have documented it online. There are other GFP stories circulating too, someone is said to have built glowing aquarium fish at home.

phryk wrote:
That would be awesome.
Much flashier then writing std::cout("Hello World!"); :)

A bit like 'game of life' hehe. The most well documented chassi is E-Coli. I've seen a lab kit for sale intended for highschools/universities containing the wetparts, pipettes etc.

phryk wrote:
But what kind of equipment would that require?

I can't say. I think there will be protocol on this when maradydd is done. She wrote something about following an existing protocol but finding it incomplete for a beginner. There is some talk about this project on the DIYbio google group. Or you could always ask her directly on irc.

-Splicer

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Mon Oct 13, 2008 10:22 pm
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Joined: Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:26 am
Posts: 56
Post Re: How to start?
Splicer: Do you think your friend maradydd has a link to any online info regarding the guy who made/drank the gfp beer? I think I would be rather nervous trying something like that. And does that diybio channel get traffic? I may show up on there.

phryk: I don't like to necessarily think of what it is I need to do first, but rather what I'm interested in. Read everything you can get your hands on. There's a ton of info online (check the torrent/link posts). You mentioned an interest in Jurassic Park. Study up on genetic engineering and see if you can focus your area towards a certain area. I think I spent a little over 2.5 hours one day just reading wikipedia articles. I've picked up about 10 books from the used bookstore, one of which was a $5.00 genetics textbook with workbook.

Edit: GFP needs blue light to glow. The scientists who first isolated the GFP just won the nobel prize in chemistry.


Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:24 am
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Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:19 am
Posts: 195
Location: Sweden
Post Re: How to start?
rallodc45 wrote:
Splicer: Do you think your friend maradydd has a link to any online info regarding the guy who made/drank the gfp beer? I think I would be rather nervous trying something like that. And does that diybio channel get traffic? I may show up on there.

The #diybio channel has had sporadic traffic. Some days a lot others none. There are about 10-15 people listening in at any one time. That channel is also publicly logged, which is both good and bad. I often like Kanzures channel #hplusroadmap, one of the topics discussed there last night was this bio cad.

rallodc45 wrote:
GFP needs blue light to glow.
Thank you.

-Splicer

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Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:52 am
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