Week 3 was different given the round robin tours. My flies have yet to eclose so I could not begin my experiment. I did end up doing a trial run of the 4 genotypes my mentor has chosen for me.
Emergence trial run:
To test the intelligence of fruit flies we construct arenas that the flies will emerge into from pipette tips when it feels like it is ready to. This is what an arena with a pipette tip looks like:
To get the flies into the pipette tip we use something called a “pooter tube” mine is the one with the orange tape. we place the pipette tip with netting on the end of the pooter tube and suck up 1 fly:
The fly is put into the arena and we time how long it takes to “emerge”. For the most part we watch the flies for 5 hours.
The round robin tours were awesome, I was so glad to see other labs and to see what is going on with the other interns. My lab is very different from everyone else’s and it was eye opening. Thank you guys!
The second week of my research was similar to my first week, only I did the protocols by myself. On Monday I attended a professional development for my district. It was in Brazos Bend Park, sadly I did not hike but instead listened to lessons plans that could not be applied to my classroom. I would have preferred to be in my lab!
Last week I started my first set of crosses. It did not go as planned, because we over estimated how my male flies we were going to need of one genotype. I ended up making half the crosses I needed. Fast forward to this week, I took my first set of crosses and transferred the mothers since I was testing maternal effects. I then poured the males into the fly morgue since I no longer needed them.
The next day in the lab I needed to “clear” the racks I needed. My mentor picked four of the best genotypes for my research. To clear I would take the fly vial and dump the flies into the clear vessel. This would give me virgin flies in the morning.
I was very happy with my first batch of crosses that were made, here a picture of one of my healthy fly vials
Here are my crosses for the first and second week…
I used a device called a fly pad that pushes CO2 out of the pad and gun. This is were I count flies and separate males and females.
I have not started the actual research yet, but I am hoping I will this coming week!
My first week as a R-STEM RET intern has been an eye opening experience. Though this week was a lot of training, I enjoyed getting to know my mentor and the bits of what I am researching. For my research I am working with fruit flies and manipulating their environments and then isolating the mothers, fathers, and siblings. My hypothesis that the second born sibling will be more “bold”, which means they are more prone enter the new environment quicker than the other siblings.
The first day was definitely a mess. I got lost, nearly fell of my bike, and cracked my phone screen. Once I got to my lab it was a breath of relief. My mentor is such an inspirational person. She is so patient with me and is always ready to answer any questions I have. I learned how to make fly food from scratch and pour them into 32 petri dishes. After that I did a practice run of emergence trials.
The second and third day I “extended” the fly racks. Which means I make new subcultures and throw away old ones, so we will always have a sufficient amount of flies to work with. I then “cleared” 4 rows on 5 racks so I can have brand new flies to work with, since age will be a factor in my research.
The fourth day I began my experiment, I collected mothers from four different genotypes and then fathers from one genotype. Sadly there were not enough fathers for my mothers. I sat around and waited 2 hours for the flies to emerge. I ended up not collecting enough, but it was more for my back up vials.
The fifth day, my mentor gave me scientific papers to read so I could understand more of what my research was related to.
I definitely respect researchers, because what they do is to meticulous and you have to make your own protocols. You cannot follow a cook book recipe and that is probably what my students want to do when I ask them to do inquiry work. This experience so far is very humbling and I am so happy I’m here! I do however wish I didn’t crack my phone screen…