A while back I posted that we published the first paper in the lab that included my results. That was super exciting. Now we've starting to get e mails from people requesting plasmids (little circles of DNA which encode a particular gene) that we've created that were described in the paper. That is even more exciting because it means that people have actually read the paper, and it inspired them to pursue something related to their research. This is one of my favorite things about academia, the collaborative spirit, the way that people oceans apart can work together. So we're busy sending out these plasmids to England, Canada etc. It sounds rather glamorous sending DNA all over the world, but I'll let you in on a secret. DNA is soluble in water, so what we basically do is take a solution of DNA and put a drop of it on paper. When it arrives they take the paper and put it in water and the DNA dissolves back into the water. Not as glamorous as you thought!
I also have a personal interest in sending these plasmids promptly to their destination. I'm in the middle of a project that needed the DNA of certain genes in plasmids. Now these plasmids exist, but no one I e mailed was willing to send me even one! So since August I've been trying to create them myself. A bit frustrating that I'm working for months because someone couldn't be bothered to send me a little bit of DNA! Not everyone appreciates the potential of academic sharing.