The genetic sciences are at the core of wildlife research and conservation biology today. However, the vast majority of genetics research is accomplished only in high-earning countries (e.g. North America, Europe, China). For years, FPI has been involved in large-scale sample collection programs in Peru, followed by relentless work to transport samples to outside labs for data analysis. Innumerable delays, significant effort, and large amounts of money are involved in analyzing biological samples this way. Further, there is a substantial loss of opportunity for professional growth and advancement to bright and ambitious local researchers. Well, we’ve decided to do something about it and change the status quo.
Enter, the Green Lab, established in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest.
The Green Lab is first molecular field laboratory in the Amazon rainforest, and one of the first genetic field labs in the world. We are doing this by taking advantage of cutting-edge field-friendly technology manufactured by companies such as MiniPCR and Oxford Nanopore Technologies. This lab will offer sample storage, as well as DNA extraction, amplification, purification, gel electrophoresis and imaging, sequencing, and assistance with sequence analysis.
- Local researchers could take advantage of the same DNA barcoding, phylogenetic, population genetics, and genomic methods as foreign researchers
- Foreign researchers could return to their home countries having already completed laboratory work in host countries
- Local animal hospitals, wildlife rescue centers, and conservation NGOs could receive instant help testing sick animals, barcoding forest plots, identifying insects and amphibians, and conducting diversity studies
The Green Lab initiative aspires to do all of this and more. There are several ways to support these efforts. Make an in-kind or cash donation, download our donation wishlist, reserve the lab for your use, or collaborate directly on a project you think might align with FPI’s goals (email firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Amazon Rainforest, Madre De Dios Department, Peru
The Field Laboratory
Together with our partner the Inkaterra Association (ITA), FPI is creating the first in situ molecular genetics laboratory in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon. The Green Lab is located at a brand new biological field station, the Inkaterra Guides Field Station.
The site has several features that support this venture:
A new laboratory building
Reliable and renewable energy supply
Freezer, oven and sample storage facilities
Sterile laboratory space (a hood and autoclave)
Access to a range of rainforest habitats on site and close by
A strong community influence
At the Green Lab, we will be able to go from sample to sequence without leaving the rainforest. Currently, this will primarily be a molecular genetics laboratory, although expansions into other areas such as tissue culture and immunoassays are future possibilities.
The Green Lab was officially inagurated in July 2018 with the following capabilities:
Biological sample preparation and storage, including but not limited to hair, nail, blood, faeces, serum, tissues and urine.
Kit- and non-kit DNA extraction from faeces, hair, whole blood, nail, and other tissues.
PCR-based DNA amplification. Ask us for help procuring the right primers for your application if necessary.
Agarose gel electrophoresis for presence/absence screening. Real-time visualisation and photography of gel results.
DNA quantification using fluorometer assays with a Quantiflor system.
Real-time portable genetic sequencing with ultra-long read lengths using MinION technology. Multiplexing possible.
Access the laboratory to perform analyses yourself, or leave it to trained lab technicians.
Export samples to an external provider for short turnaround Sanger sequencing
Our focus is on using reliable but low-impact machinery that can be replaced easily. As such, not all of the equipment below is high throughput. Please inquire if you have a specific concern about the number of samples that can be processed at one time. Laboratory equipment and supplies include:
**Note* If you belong to a lab that has equipment or supplies to donate, please click HERE to view our Wish List and notify us if you have something to contribute.
- Type III Water Purification System
- PCR machines
- Water bath & heat block
- DNA fluorometer
- UV sterilization chamber
- Gel rig + visualiser
- MinION Sequencer
- Benchtop scale
- Benchtop sample ice blocks
- Single-channel pipettes
- Multi-channel pipettes
- Tube racks
- pH meter
- Graduated cylinders
- Lab computer
- Pipette tips
- PCR supplies
- DNA extraction kits
- Electrophoresis supplies
- Fluorometer assays
- Ultrapure water
- ONT sequencing supplies
- ONT barcoding kit
Why Use This Lab?
Make history > This will be the first in situ molecular genetics lab in the Amazon rainforest with the ability to go from sample to sequence in under 24 hours.
Support the local economy > Ultimately, we hope that this will be a laboratory that is operated entirely by Peruvians, to serve both the local and visiting community’s needs.
Push the envelope > Science only progresses when you think outside the bounds of traditional reasoning. Rethink your laboratory.
Results in real time > By completing even a portion of your laboratory analyses while in the field, you can avoid future problems and refine your sample collection strategies in situ.
Stress-free sample export > Export DNA, not tissue, and save time and money.