Day 4 dawns, and it looks initially like a bit of a rest day. We are to run PCR machines and then look at DNA tracks in gels. These are apparently much easier than the SDS-PAGE gels to get right, and the initial stuff goes well. There is some really tricky diluting, we have to pipette one micro-litre of DNA - which is almost impossible to see if you have anything at all in the pipette!
While the mixture we make up is in the PCR machine, we poured out the agarose gels to let them set. These are quite easy to do, the liquid is at 60C and you pour it smoothly, move any bubbles that appear to the side out of the way, and then leave it to set. As it has a flourescing agent in it - it has to set in the dark so it doesn't bleach.
After lunch, we came back and loaded up the gels with DNA to see what we'd got. After running them for a while, we took a look at them in the UV viewer, and we had only very faint bands. In fact they were practically useless. So we decided to rerun the procedure and see what we could do. We ran out of time, but luckily the demonstrater was able to finish it off and the results were good this time - very clear.
After tea - another tutorial. We swapped partners and had to prepare a quick talk on a given topic to do with the procedures we had used. We did a quick poster on paper and then had to present it to the group. This was clearly practice for the main symposium on Friday. After that there was a quick chat about the ECA we will have to do, and then a review of the data we had collected, followed by the further experiments.