Debbie Knight

Photo of the Week

In photo log on November 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm

A new office mate was unpacking his desk. One of the items was the molecular biologist’s “bible” also known as “Current Protocols in Molecular Biology.” My lab has one of these as well – although we haven’t kept it current with the subscription which offers periodic updates. So, I guess you would call ours a “Not-so-current Current Protocols in Molecular Biology.”

Our meager three-volume set dates back to the early 1990’s. A lot has changed in the world of molecular biology since then. We subscribed for a couple of years, but it was a real pain in the buttocks to insert the updates (which sometimes involved removing existing pages).

Despite its outdatedness, our set is still useful.

It not only offers tried and true scientific protocols, but also gives good background on the techniques (like why you add reagent Z after reagent A) and troubleshooting tips (like why adding reagent Z before reagent A is not such a good idea).

I’ll admit  I rarely use this handy reference.

I often turn to commercially-available kits for much of my molecular biology needs.

Case in point, my new office mate relayed the following hallway conversation he had recently. (For simplicity, the office mate we’ll call “Dude-1” and the person from a neighboring lab “Dude-2.”)

Dude-2: Do you know how to clone a gene?
Dude-1: Sure, I know how to do that, but I haven’t done it in a long time.
Dude-2: What kind of kit did you use?
Dude-1: Kit? I didn’t use a kit. I made all the reagents myself.
Dude-2: Oh. Um. Well, thanks any way.
Exit Dude-2 as he walks to the next (and hopefully more “hip”) lab seeking his answer.

A subscription to “Current Protocols in Molecular Biology” isn’t cheap.

According to the website, it now costs $1200 for a new one-year subscription to the six-volume set and $650 to renew. And keeping up with the times, there’s also an online subscription rate for labs: $550 per year.

For smaller labs running on a shoe-string budget, this subscription rate (whether online or hard copy) is cost prohibitive. This might explain why we haven’t had a subscription for many (many!) moons.

  1. Debbie, do you know, are there any limitations on how many subscriptions, and the type of subscriptions that labs can spend grant money on?

  2. We use “Molecular Cloning” by Sambrook and Russel, from Cold Spring Harbor; known to “old-school’ folks simply as “Maniatis”. I don’t necessarily like it better than “Current Protocols”, I just know it a little better. Just my $0.02 🙂

  3. My lab has these bundles updated regularly, and I know the pains of inserting those updates 🙂

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