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Another blast from the past: Simple fools guide to PCR v1

Screenshot 2015-09-10 16.07.09When I first started trying to do PCR in Colleen Cavanaugh‘s lab in 1989, I was kind of on my own.  Colleen was a newly hired profession at Harvard.  She was busy getting things set up.  And I was the only person in the lab – and I really knew very little.  And basically I was tasked with getting all the needed materials and equipment for the lab to do some PCR amplification and sequencing of rRNA genes from bacterial symbionts.  Fortunately I had some amazing people and materials I could lean on to figure out what to do. Rob Dorit and Hiroshi Akashi in Wally Gilbert‘s lab helped me with synthesizing primers.  Mitch Sogin and Anne Yoder helped me with PCR.  Spencer Wells in Dick Lewontin‘s lab helped me with sequencing (as did Dorit and Akashi).  And Colleen connected me to people who might be able to help with any other issues.  And she also gave me some wonderful papers and documents.  Like the PCR primer information I tweeted about a few days ago:

Eventually, someone gave me an incredible document – The Simple Fool’s Guide to PCR.  It was invaluable.  Well, I just found this doc in some old files and thought I would share.  One thing I love about this is the statement below:

Screenshot 2015-09-10 16.05.20And so more than 25 years later, I am sharing it.  Here is a PDF of a scan of the Simple fools guide PCR – version 1.  Thank you to all the contributors — and to your willingness – many years ago – to share your knowledge widely and freely and openly.


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Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. My lab is in the UC Davis Genome Center and I hold appointments in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine and the Department of Evolution and Ecology in the College of Biological Sciences. My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis (see my lab site here which has more information on lab activities).  In addition to research, I am heavily involved in the Open Access publishing and Open Science movements.