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August 24, 2015

Proceedings of the Natural Institute of Science | Volume 2 | SCI-NEWS 14

Failed PCR blamed on misplacement of lucky pipette

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – The blank gel staring back at 2nd year graduate student Lucy Martinez Monday morning told her that something had gone terribly wrong with her latest Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) on a tissue sample taken from a recently caught trout. But instead of blaming possible contamination of the sample, a poorly made buffer solution, or bad primers, Martinez knew the most likely culprit for the failed run: the misplacement of her lucky pipette. “I knew I shouldn’t have even started this PCR,” said Martinez. “It was doomed to fail the minute I realized I couldn’t find my favorite pipette.”

Martinez had come in early Monday morning with hopes of isolating DNA from the trout, but once she couldn’t locate her pipette, a Gilson Pipetman Classic® P10 Single Channel, and had to settle for the pipette with the wonky number dial, she knew the PCR wouldn’t work. “I mean, how am I supposed to measure out the primer precisely when the dial keeps slipping and the pipette doesn’t dispense properly?” asked Martinez.

The location of her lucky pipette remains a mystery as of this afternoon, and Martinez feels her entire thesis project may be in jeopardy. Martinez claims to have looked everywhere for the pipette, including all her lab drawers, all her labmates’ drawers, and even the gel prep room. Martinez feels that the real culprit may be someone from the Kingston Lab down the hall. “I’ve seen them eyeing my pipette a couple of times,” said Martinez. Unfortunately, the Kingston Lab has been conveniently locked all day and multiple requests to interview members of the Kingston Lab have been refused.

Despite her recent troubles in the lab, Martinez’s graduate advisor, Dr. Tracy Nowak, remains unsympathetic. “Oh, she lost her favorite pipette?” said Nowak. “Back in my day, our lab shared one pipette, and I had to wait until 8 at night before I got a chance to use it. Please, there’s nothing wrong with our lab’s 10 year old Li’lpet’s®.”


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