Lab Help at Your Fingertips – OpenWetWare

Lab Help at Your Fingertips – OpenWetWare

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted April 28, 2007 in DNA Lab Talk

Laboratories are intimidating places. The glaringly bright fluorescent lights reflecting off the cold linoleum floors, large machines doing things that no mere mortal understands, black countertops scarred by acid and other chemicals, freezer after freezer of samples marked with biohazard signs…. Imagine yourself there on your first day without a clue where to stand so that you don’t contaminate something. You can prepare yourself by visiting OpenWetWare first.


Started at MIT by the Endy and Knight labs, OpenWetWare is a wiki that is open to everyone interested in laboratory procedures and exchange of scientific information. For instance, there’s a page on avoiding RNase contamination that says you should use separate sets of pipettors and avoid touching the barrel or metal ejector to the side of the tubes. Anyone can add to or edit the information already there just like The Free Encyclopedia Wikipedia. Much of the existing content at OpenWetWare could use some fleshing out and there is much that hasn’t been included yet.

If you’re currently working in a lab involved in some form of biology, what are you waiting for? OpenWetWare is a great place to ask questions, share what you know, and congregate with other lab rats. Maybe I should go add what I know about electroporating malaria parasites, Plasmodium falciparum. Zap!

HT: Jason

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