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Introduction - What's to Random Primers?

By David Burden, President, OPS Diagnostics

I've been working in the lab for a long time.  My first experiments as an undergraduate were done in a converted garage at the University of Massachusetts Nantucket Field Station at a time when people communicated using letters and electronic typewriters.  Ironically, I'm not all that old.  However, technology prevailed and in my first year of graduate school I purchased a Macintosh computer.  This monster of a machine allowed me to type lab notes that were up to four pages long.  Everything was stored on a single-sided 400K disk, that is everything: system, word processor, and documents.  As primitive as it was, that simple square Macintosh allowed me to start an electronic repository for my experiments.

The result of having a computer on my bench for over 20 years means that I have taken many notes.  Coupled with the fact that much of my work involves troubleshooting and inventing new methods, I have a wealth of documents, many of which were written as application notes and training manuals.  All of these materials which I still access (though at times with some difficult translations) are housed on my current laptop.  This electronic repository of scientific papers, notes, methods and experiments are the source of materials for Random Primers, with "primer" referring to a basic educational text.

Science is a cumulative process and with so much more to know now than 20 years ago, I'm making these notes available so that young researchers can avoid some of the pitfalls which are often encountered in our journey.  As it takes time to extract, format and proof this information, Random Primers will be published on the OPS Diagnostics website over time.  I hope they are of use.