SoundBio has been hosting a wonderful Citizen Salmon science project since opening its doors last March. Needless to say, moving from our co-founder's garage into SoundBio's state-of-the-art lab has been a huge help in furthering this science project!
Originally created in 2015, Citizen Salmon is a community of curious citizen scientists interested in understanding the origins of the salmon found in our fish markets and restaurants. Salmon are not only vital to Cascadia, but they are a highly valued food source, a key export, and a cultural icon of our region.
The goal of Citizen Salmon is to acquire a deeper knowledge of local food origins while providing accessible science to the public. By connecting the information about a salmon’s genes with its birthplace, the project hopes to develop a simple tool that citizen scientists may use independently to determine the origin of salmon on their plate. In short, we want to understand where we get our food.
Very cool indeed!
The current leads on this project are Wakanene Kamau and SoundBio co-founder, Regina Wu. The group is working on differentiating between different salmon species using a protocol called LAMP. LAMP stands for 'loop-mediated isothermal amplification'. NEB has a nice overview of the complete LAMP protocol , but here is their formal description:
Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) uses 4-6 primers recognizing 6-8 distinct regions of target DNA. A strand-displacing DNA polymerase initiates synthesis and 2 of the primers form loop structures to facilitate subsequent rounds of amplification. LAMP is rapid, sensitive, and amplification is so extensive that the magnesium pyrophosphate produced during the reaction can be seen by eye, making LAMP well-suited for field diagnostics. - NEB
SoundBio is excited to welcome two new members to our Citizen Salmon Team! Welcome Amy Chen and Christiana Doulami! We are always looking for more members (community projects are basically volunteers, right?!) to help move the project forward. Don't hesitate to reach out. Please email Regina Wu - regina at sound dot bio - to learn more. We use the MeetUp platform to send out meeting invites, so be sure to check out SoundBio on MeetUp!