(by Stacy Davis, Biology Team)
At the beginning of last week we were able to get results from the previous ivory sample that we had extracted DNA from. We ran the sequence from the GeneWiz results in the NCBI BLAST database and the sequence came back as African Elephant.
This past week the biology group also worked on extracting DNA from more ivory samples that we had previously been soaking in EDTA, a ligand used for the decalcification of the ivory. Once the samples were softened, we smashed them as well as we could with hammers, and cut some small portions with a scalpel. We then allowed them to sit in a heat block and Proteinase K solution for 24 hours.
Once the samples were ready, we extracted the DNA using the DNA extraction kit we had previously used for the dung samples. We were able to amplify the DNA from the ivory samples and get good looking DNA bands from gel electrophoresis. The next step is to send the samples out for sequencing and hope the sequence can give us a result of African or Asian elephant when run through the BLAST database.