When I first started trying to do PCR in Colleen Cavanaugh‘s lab in 1989, I was kind of on my own. Colleen was a newly hired profession at Harvard. She was busy getting things set up. And I was the only person in the lab – and I really knew very little. And basically I was tasked with getting all the needed materials and equipment for the lab to do some PCR amplification and sequencing of rRNA genes from bacterial symbionts. Fortunately I had some amazing people and materials I could lean on to figure out what to do. Rob Dorit and Hiroshi Akashi in Wally Gilbert‘s lab helped me with synthesizing primers. Mitch Sogin and Anne Yoder helped me with PCR. Spencer Wells in Dick Lewontin‘s lab helped me with sequencing (as did Dorit and Akashi). And Colleen connected me to people who might be able to help with any other issues. And she also gave me some wonderful papers and documents. Like the PCR primer information I tweeted about a few days ago:
Blast from the past: Fax from 1990 from Dave Lane to my advisor Colleen Cavanaugh on “universal” rRNA primers pic.twitter.com/vqhawEautZ
– Jonathan Eisen (@phylogenomics) September 2, 2015
Eventually, someone gave me an incredible document – The Simple Fool’s Guide to PCR. It was invaluable. Well, I just found this doc in some old files and thought I would share. One thing I love about this is the statement below:
And so more than 25 years later, I am sharing it. Here is a PDF of a scan of the Simple fools guide PCR – version 1. Thank you to all the contributors — and to your willingness – many years ago – to share your knowledge widely and freely and openly.