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Biology: DNA Sequencing

$10,155
101%
Raised toward our $10,000 Goal
31 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on May 28, at 09:07 PM CDT
Project Owners

Biology: DNA Sequencing

Our project is designed (1) to sequence microorganisms from environmental samples in Kansas and (2) to examine the utility of DNA sequencing applications in forensic biology.

Drs. John Mullican and Andrew Herbig and their undergraduate student researchers will collect samples from water and soil and then sequence selected organisms from those samples. Mullican studies small, free-living amebae, while Herbig is interested in the viruses that infect certain bacteria. Dr. Josh Smith and his students will examine how DNA sequence information can be used in forensics to supplement current DNA fingerprinting profiles. 

Knowing the DNA sequence of living organisms helps biologists understand many aspects of how organisms function and how they are related to one another. Many of us are aware of the human genome sequencing companies 23andMe and Ancestry.com that perform some level of genetic analysis providing insights into an individual's ancestry as well as some potential health information. These companies determine the sequence of less than 0.1 percent of a person’s DNA (their “genome”), which only gives a snapshot of information.  DNA sequencing technologies are becoming more affordable all the time and the ability to sequence entire genomes (100 percent of the DNA, not 0.1 percent) is now becoming more doable in shorter amounts of time. A relatively new technology, recently developed by a company in the UK, provides the ability to sequence entire genomes in around 48 hours.

The instrument, called a minION, is small (about the size of a USB drive), portable and able to perform long sequencing reads. The data generated will be used for both teaching and research. The minION starter kit containing 4 flow cells is about $5,000. This is significantly cheaper than large, dedicated DNA sequencing instruments. Depending on the size of the genomes being sequenced, flow cells may be reused a number of times. We propose to purchase the minION starter kit, bringing this technology to Washburn University.

Exposing our students to this cutting-edge technology will provide our students an advantage and may make them more competitive for jobs or graduate school following graduation. A further goal is to eventually bring this technology into the classroom giving a larger number of students access to this technology.

 

See the poster board about our project.

Levels
Choose a giving level

$25

Discover

Gifts of any size help create opportunities for students to discover more while in school

$100

Connections

Help students create connections and learn more about this important type of research

$300

Technology

Exposing students to cutting-edge technology will provide them an advantage and may make them more competitive for jobs or graduate school

$600

Data Scientist

Contribute to both research and student learning of microorganisms from environmental samples in Kansas

$1,000

Sequence

Help students and faculty learn as much as possible with this technology