Respect Your Specimen Collection

I am sure everyone is familiar with this scenario: Rushing an experiment, we pull out a box from the freezer, pop out a tube of our precious sample (plasmid DNA, primer set, antibiotics etc.) only to realize later on that the marking on the tube was incorrect or smudged, ruining an experiment. In this post I will share with you how I changed the way I manage my bio-collection and specimen collection using BioData's web-based laboratory management system.

Real life example

I will start with my own example of wrongly managing my specimen. It happened when I was a masters student at Prof. Lea Eisenbach’s lab, working on establishing clones of stably-transected carcinoma cells. I was at the stage in which I had to revive a clone from deep freeze following a persistent mycoplasma infection of our incubator. It had been months since I’d visited the liquid nitrogen storage (which by then was moved to a new and bigger tank) and it took me lots of time to find the right box - and then only to realize I had a mess in that specific box. In the haste of the moment (I was fiddling with the box a bit too much at room temperature) I took one of the vials even though I was not sure it contained the cell line I needed. Eventually I realized that it was the parental cell line and not the one I needed. Simply put, I wasted materials and two weeks of time and effort due to the lack of an effective specimen management system.