*This abstract is the first draft of what will ultimately be used for the poster presentation at the end of this program*
The gut microbiome & depression: what is the best method for DNA extraction?
Our gut microbiomes play an important role in immune functioning, nutrient processing, and regulating many aspects of brain functioning. This gut-brain axis has been implicated in major depressive disorder, and inducing a depressive phenotype in mice using social defeat (SD) is one commonly used model to study the shifts in microbial diversity that occur. To do so, an effective protocol to extract and sequence the bacterial DNA from the fecal matter of subject mice is required. As it stands, methods and results in the field vary widely. This study compared two DNA extraction kits—the Maxwell RSC PureFood GMO & Authentication Kit and the MoBio PowerSoil DNA Isolation Kit. The Promega kit was hypothesized to be superior due to its high degree of automation. In order to assess the quality of the extracted DNA, spectrophotometer, fluorometer and electrophoresis were used. Results from 16S rRNA gene sequencing are awaited for phylogenetic classification of the samples. Analyses indicate that the Promega kit is more efficient, requiring less sample, but may have co-purified contaminants. Sequencing results will indicate effects of this, if any. Further work must explore microbial changes after SD and treatment, and the roles of specific bacterial species on the CNS.