PCR and Sourcing Genetic Reagents/Wetware for Open Lab and

I am looking at setting up an open genetics lab here in Iowa (Des Moines Area). Ultimately I would like to be able to teach and offer open use of PCR, electrophoresis, etc. I am finding it difficult to find affordable reagents, but on the positive side I am finding quite a few open source kits for the hardware side of things.

It looks like there was an awesome company/product GENELASER, but that is now defunct. Basically right now the only way that it would be affordable would to have a group buy & split reagents, chemicals and other wetwar. If there is a good place to purchase wetware please let me know. Maybe there is a group already doing this. Without a group by the only other alternative would be to obtain crowd sourced funding, grants or donations locally.

The other major hurdle is I can parse my way through some laboratory protocol (I have BA in Bio, but have not been in a lab in 10yrs), but I would like to have some approachable materials/projects (open source) for people without previous college level biology/biochem/chem degree. I don't want to have to teach dilution, mM, etc. I would really want to offer projects that would be very set it and forget it, that would require a teacher pre-pipetting reagents in ready to go test tubes and have an easy simple n-step process.

Any thoughts, suggestions on setting up a open bio lab or if any one knows someone who has done this that would be awesome.


  • So first, check out openwetware. They have a lot of protocols and the like.

    Second, ebay is your friend. You can get the openPCR for 500 dollars and build it yourself, or you can just get on ebay and have a perfectly good pcr machine cost you 100 dollars. It's not as hackable, but you need to ask yourself what you want your tools for and how much time you want to spend building things as opposed to just buying them.

    When it comes to reagents, you're just boned. There are no affordable lab grade reagents. You're also not going to find quality ecoli designed for labwork without throwing down. Also you need the tools to store these things.

    sfm has a bit of a bio lab and we're ramping up now, but even we are having problems sourcing some of the stuff due to resource costs.

    There doesn't seem to be a lot of open biolabs in your area, but I may be visiting out there in a bit. I'd be happy to meet with you and discuss stuff, but don't hold your breath, it could be a few months still.
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