Understanding embryology in live-bearing fish

· Customer Testimonial

Understanding embryology in live-bearing fish

INTEGRA’s EVOLVE manual pipettes and VOYAGER adjustable tip spacing pipettes are both integral parts of the lab workflows at UCR. Samantha Levell, a PhD candidate at UCR, explained how she uses them to investigate the role that the father plays in the evolution of these species, as well as to obtain insights into how female fish select their mates: “Fish from this family mate with multiple males, and that introduces an aspect of paternal competition. I’m interested in the outcome of this competition. For example, do different fathers produce young that are different sizes? In the lab, females can be conveniently inseminated by multiple males at once, which makes it really easy to test our theories using various genetic techniques without introducing other variables into the mix, such as who mated with her first.”

A range of INTEGRA manual and electronic pipettes resting on the linear stand.

Efficient and accurate library preparation

As well as caring for the fish and collecting the offspring, a lot of the team’s lab work centers around a multistep DNA extraction protocol, followed by PCR, gel electrophoresis and sequencing. The extraction process is where the EVOLVE manual pipette comes in. Samantha continued: “We have a variety of single and multichannel EVOLVE pipettes in the lab. What I really like about them is how intuitive they are to use – the Quick Set Dial makes it easy to go from the highest to the lowest volume in one click, and the design is great too. I also love how the color of the pipette plunger corresponds to the color of the appropriate tips, this means my students don't have to think about which tips to use – if you're using the blue pipette you just use the blue rack of pipette tips, which makes the whole process so much more straightforward and efficient, especially for students who are new to the lab.”

“In preparation for sequencing, we perform a deep clean-up process, and the multichannel EVOLVE pipette is perfect for both the clean-up and for loading gels, as we can transfer several samples at once. My research will also soon include a more advanced double-digest restriction-site associated DNA (ddRAD) library preparation technique and, as this is more sensitive than traditional sequencing, we will need to run gels much more frequently than before. These multichannel pipettes will be a lifesaver!”

Samantha Levell using EVOLVE manual pipette
Photo courtesy of UCR

Saving time on tube to plate transfers

The team originally got in touch with INTEGRA when they were looking for a way to streamline their tube to plate transfers. Samantha explained: “My work in the lab also involves transferring multiple samples between different labware formats – such as from centrifuge tubes to 96 well plates – and I was keen to find a way to make this as smooth and efficient as possible. I decided my primary need was for an adjustable tip spacing pipette, but there aren't that many pipettes on the market that can do this. I then discovered INTEGRA and spoke to one of its representatives – they were great! The sales rep gave me a demo of the VOYAGER adjustable tip spacing pipette and introduced me to their other products, which led to my lab purchasing both the VOYAGER and a couple of EVOLVEs.”

“Without the VOYAGER, I would have to use a single channel or fixed-spacing multichannel pipette to transfer from tubes to the plate. This would typically take me around two hours to perform for a single run. Using the VOYAGER for this process has halved the time, which makes a considerable difference to my productivity; my workflow is so much easier and more streamlined. Some of my protocols are quite long, with many samples, and the ability to speed up any aspect of it is fantastic. Using a multichannel pipette like the VOYAGER also makes it simpler to keep track of my samples, which means there is less chance of making mistakes when pipetting across the different labware formats.”

Samantha Levell using VOYAGER adjustable tip spacing pipette
Photo courtesy of UCR

Keeping track with GripTips

The GripTip pipette tip system has also helped Samantha with her research. “I love using the GripTips. They’re especially great for teaching as they attach firmly to the pipette and don’t fall off. I have to remind students that the tip will click on perfectly, so they don’t need to hammer the pipette!”

“The EVOLVE and the VOYAGER are fantastic pipettes and are really great value – we now have two sets of pipettes that get shared among six people – we use them all the time and will continue to do so for a very long time.”