The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

Got a tip? Have something you need to tell us? Contact us

Loading Recent Classifieds...

New, fast DNA sequencer for biology department and students

The subjects of biology and DNA are complicated. They are so complicated, in fact, merely mentioning the word “mitochondria” can send many CSUN students running. Nevertheless, DNA is a very useful tool in researching biological subjects, but it can be very time consuming to do an analysis and sequence the DNA for research projects. The answer for this long process is the new and updated DNA Sequencer.

The old DNA Sequencer that produced data was slow and difficult to maintain. The older version also took longer to sequence the genes needed for research. There were two older versions of DNA Sequencers. One has been traded in to receive the new DNA Sequencer, but the other is still in the biology labs at CSUN.

“It’s a state-of-the art capillary sequencer that we were able to purchase,” said professor Larry Allen, chair of the biology department. “President (Jolene) Koester provided me with $200,000 from her special fund to purchase it. We purchased it last year and it has been running for about nine months.”

The new DNA Sequencer is used to find out the order of nucleotides in a piece of DNA and it is located in Magnolia Hall, Room 4108. It is useful to researchers for finding changes and mutations in the DNA, which are responsible for various human diseases.

“The DNA Sequencer is basically a very fancy box for finding out what the sequences of genes are,” said Aida Metzenberg, Director of the Genetic Counseling Program and a professor in the biology department.

The DNA Sequencer involves a very simple process for researchers and the device cuts the time that must be invested in analysis research in half.

“The machine is so automated that we don’t have to do much work,” said Metzenberg.

This new DNA Sequencer gives students the opportunity to work with the same new age technology that the big research companies and hospitals are also utilizing,

“The DNA Sequencer is great because it makes the research go by so much faster,” said Claudia Hernandez, a 25-year-old graduate student majoring in genetic counseling.

Technology is seeping into every field, including the science department, and to keep up with the growing technological advances, the DNA Sequencer is proving to be a good investment.

“The sequencing is done much faster and it is much easier to keep this machine collaborated and running,” said Dr. Jerry Stinner, the Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics. “I think it’s wonderful for the department. A lot of biologists are doing testing at the molecular level.”

The DNA Sequencer is used for a variety of projects that are taking place here on campus. It is being used to study rare genetic diseases, a variety of bacteria, and variations in migrations patterns of fish and sharks. Future studies will include corals and other organisms. CSUN students and faculty members are working on those projects.

According to the John Hopkins University-produced database “Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man,” Chondrodysplasia Punctata is a disorder caused by a mutation in the gene, and Dyskeratosis Congenita is a progressive bone marrow failure syndrome

Allen is heading a project with a group of students to study the Soupfin shark and its DNA to see if there have been reductions in the diversity of the genes. Allen is also studying the Yellowtail fish and the Giant Sea Bass.

Other professors who are utilizing the DNA Sequencer are Dr. David Gray, who is an associate professor in biology and will be conducting a study on cricket populations.

Dr. Michael Summers, a biology associate professor, will be working on a research project on bacteria.

More to Discover