This week we analyzed a PCR reaction. The target was the 16s rRNA gene which codes for a certain subunit in a bacterial ribosome, usually a highly conserved region in the genome. Today we tested isolated compounds in different fungi and bacteria strains; we want to corroborate the assay results with phylogenetic data. The PCR product will be sequenced and analyzed to observe the resemblance between the bacterial strains used for this experiment. The more resemblance the sequences have, the closer related they are to a common ancestor in a phylogenetic tree. Previous classes help me to understand the background of this experiment. This week, I had a flashback to the first major class I took at CSUF: Evolution and Biodiversity. One of the main objectives was to understand evolution and how every organism is related to another. In order to do so, we had to build phylogenetic trees which meant doing the following: finding common traits, interpreting each branch to state which organisms were closer related, and determining what traits were inevitably lost in time.
Although in the laboratory we were not talking about how closely related frogs are to chickens, we were comparing different strains of bacteria solely based on the genomic code (see previous research entry).We are observing a sequence that will take thousands of years to randomly change due to mutation and how these potentially beautiful mistakes actually steered the course of life in a complete different direction. We can observe the consequences of this statement every day in macroscale. Next time you see an elephant compare it to a bacteria and in some point in the tree of life, they are related at the genomic level.