It you access the Virtual Laboratory through this page, it will ask you to log in. If you have signed up for a free account through the Simzymes online catalog, you should use that user name and password to login here. Any items you have 'ordered' from the catalog will appear in the lab when you log in. You will only be able to save your lab configuration in our database if you have your own account.
If you log in as a guest, you will be presented with a standard read-only configuration; currently, it is set up for RFLP analysis of sickle cell anemia. For more details on a suggested experiment to perform with this configuration, see the RFLP and Electrophoresis demo.
Using the Interface
These are brief notes on how to use the virtual lab. For more example
protocols, including PCR, see 'Demos' on the Guest Access
Click the tip box to put a tip on the pipette if it doesn't
already have one.
To throw a tip away, click on the opening to the waste can.
Alternatively, click the tip ejector on the pipette.
To move the pipette to a tube, click the tube. The top
should pop open, and the pipette will fly over if it has a
tip. The pipette will not go to the selected tube if it does
not have a tip. You have to click a tube WITHOUT DRAGGING to
select/deselect it. If you drag a tube, it will not be
selected. The selected tube (with its top open) can not be
dragged; if you want to move it, deselect it first.
Click the pipette plunger to toggle it up and down. Select
the pipette volume by dragging across it with the mouse, and
type in a new volume. Only volumes between 0 and 100 ul are
valid. Alternatively, you can click on the left and right
sides of the volume dial wheel to change the volume.
To see how much solution is in the pipette tip, you can move
the pipette to the pipette stand, either by deselecting the
tube, or by clicking on the pipette stand. This will let you zoom in to inspect the tip contents.
To see how much solution is in a tube, zoom in. Drag the
tube a tad so it pops in front of the tube rack (drag by the
cap hinge, so the hand doesn't block the label). It will
snap back in place when you let go.
To measure how much solution is in a tube, try to remove
more than you have with the pipette. The pipette volume will
only take up what is available, and the pipette volume be
set to the amount drawn up.
Only one tube can be selected at a time. Choosing a
different tube will open its top, and close the top of the
previously selected tube.
Drag tubes around to move them. You can only place tubes in
the holes of tube racks and the PCR machine. If you try to
drop a tube anywhere else, it snaps back to its former
To throw a tube away, drag it to the waste can. To get a new
tube, drag it from the tube jar. (NOTE: tubes from the tube
jar act differently then the original tubes, because they
have not been assigned a position yet. You can drop them in
mid-air, for example. They are also frozen (-120 degrees!).
drop a tube from the tube jar onto a valid tube position, it
behaves normally (i.e., won't hang in mid-air any more.)
Tubes take their temperatures from their positions. The
water bath is adjustable, the ice bucket is 0°C, and room
temperature is 20°C.
Solutions in tubes are ALWAYS incubating. Nothing happens if
the tube is at zero degrees (or below). Enzyme activity is
temperature dependent; they cut best at 37°C, but will also
cut slowly at room temperature. Enzymes also degrade in a
temperature dependent fashion. The lengths of the
incubations are measured by the digital clock on the wall.
To speed up incubations, hit fast forward on the clock. You
can also cheat and stop the clock to set up reactions if you
To load the gel, suck up a solution into the pipette, then
click on the target well. The pipette will fly over.
Use Ctl-click (Mac) or right click (Windows) to bring up the
Flash menu. This will let you zoom in. It is much easier to
read the tube labels and see the gel wells if you zoom in.
Questions or Comments
Please contact Dr. Horton (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are
interested in beta testing this software in classes, or if
you have any questions, comments, or suggestions.