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Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Formal Introduction...

Welcome to “The Life of a DNA Intern” Blog! This blog is dedicated to documenting the experiences of six high school aged interns working in the Pritzker Laboratory at the Field Museum. The Field Museum is located in Chicago, Illinois, on the lakefront near downtown. Residing on the upper level of the museum is the Pritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution and Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice DNA Discovery Center. In this lab scientists work with the DNA of different organisms to learn about different aspects of their anatomy, evolution, ancestors, or life in general. There are many scientists working on a slew of different organisms, but the interns in the DNA Residency are being split up into three individual projects. Since there are six high school students and three educators we are split up into teams of three, consisting of two students and one teacher. Each group was assigned a central project. One group works with the evolution of different venomous fishes, another with emerging pathogens in birds, and a final group dealing with population trends of lemon sharks. Each of these teams has an advising scientist, who supervises and tackles any of the numerous questions we ask.

To carry out the research for these projects, each teams uses the DNA of their specimens to run a variety of procedures to ultimately sequence the DNA and analyze their results. For example, the shark team will be comparing their fragment analysis results to that of previously collected data of lemon sharks to analyze population trends such as migration patterns.

Another part of this internship is to educate others about our research and how DNA is used to answer questions regarding natural life. Each group of students is using some sort of digital media as an outlet to teach others and spark an interest in science of those who many disregard it altogether. This brings us to why this blog was created. "The Life of a DNA Intern" was created by the shark team to document the experience and research of the interns and to make it readily available to the public.

Hopefully, with this blog we will be able to make the discoveries and novelties of the Pritzker Lab a bit more understandable and attainable for all those who seek it.

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