Kira DesJardins ’10 Takes Green Lakes Research to Next Level

Kira DesJardins '10
Kira DesJardins '10
As a sequel to the biological sampling from earlier in the summer, Kira DesJardins ’10 is taking the next step in identifying the species that inhabit the depths of Green Lakes. Other students have extracted the DNA of organisms in the water samples and prepared them for genetic analysis. DesJardins has created a “clone library” out of the fungal DNA with Professor of Biology Jinnie Garrett.

To assemble the “clone library,” DesJardins carried out a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) using fungal-specific primers that isolate a portion of the fungal DNA. Fungal-specific primers are short sequences that are complementary to a certain DNA sequence. They act as a starting point for replication in a polymerase chain reaction. DesJardins took the isolated section and put it in another carrier – thus instigating the cloning process. For each of six depths she generated approximately 100 clones.

“I love the idea of genetics and how so much is going on that we can’t see,” she said. “It’s really interesting to find out what can live in those nasty lower levels [of the lake].” After Hamilton, she will pursue a degree in veterinary medicine.

DesJardins also had the opportunity to work with a foreign student this summer. Isabel Lopez was born in Mexico, grew up and went to school in Paris, and then studied abroad at Boston College. Now she is a graduate working with Hamilton’s Biology Department on research. Having her on board assisted in their research and also helped facilitate intercollegiate partnership.
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