5:27pm, Friday 19 November 2004
An email went round at work asking if anyone had any "anti-rabbit" going spare. Curiosity made me ask what on earth that was... the scientist obligingly replied:
it's basically an antibody that recognises anything from a rabbit, so it's name.
When you do Western blot (a technology to tell if there's a certain protein present in the mess you have), you use a primary antibody that binds to your protein, then link a secondary antibody to your primary antibody. The secondary antibody is already connected with some clever stuff so under certain chemicals it exposes your film. My primary antibody is raised from rabbit (don't ask me how) and that's why I need some anti-rabbit.
And of course, the anti-rabbit antibody is also raised from some other animals, so you actually have rather fancy names when you look at these companies' catalogue, a few nice examples being 'donkey anti-sheep', 'goat anti-swine' and 'rabbit anti-human'. Unfortunately I haven't managed to find a 'mouse anti-cat' yet.
See, it's much more fun doing biology than computer science!