Radiotracer methodology in biological science Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/8g84mq109

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  • The use of radioactive isotopes as tracers in biological systems has become widespread since the close of World War II. Proper use of radiotracers requires a fundamental understanding of the physical nature of radioactivity, the characteristics of ionizing radiation, and the various methods available for measuring radioactivity. More importantly, the investigator employing radioisotopic tracers must be familiar with the methodology involved in design of radio-tracer experiments, the preparation of radioactive samples for assay, and the problems inherent in analyzing data from radiotracer experiments. The purpose in the preparation of this thesis was to present a summary of the essential concepts and information needed by the biologist who desires to make use of radiotracer methods in his investigations. The thesis is set forth in the form of an introductory text, suitable either for class or individual use. The presentation is divided into three major sections (1) the text proper, covering the principles of radiotracer methodology, (2) a set of basic laboratory exercises, intended to familiarize the user with procedures in detecting and characterizing radioactivity, and (3) a selection of typical radiotracer experiments illustrating applications in various fields of biological science. This latter section is thought to be particularly valuable in that it furnishes step-by-step examples of design and execution of typical radiotracer experiments In view of the fact that liquid scintillation counting has recently come into widespread favor among biologists using tritium and carbon-14 labeled tracer compounds and yet no comprehensive monograph is available on the subject, particular attention has been devoted to this assay method. A most extensive bibliography covering both the preparation of samples for liquid scintillation counting and the operating characteristics of the counter assembly is included. In addition, one of the laboratory exercises deals with the practical operation of a liquid scintillation counter Other aspects of radiotracer methodology that are treated are the safe handling of radioisotopes, the proper design of radiotracer laboratory facilities, and the statistical analysis of counting data. Since the biologist commonly secures his radiotracer compounds from commercial radiochemical. suppliers, a chapter on the methods of primary radioisotope production and the preparation of labeled compounds has been included as background information. The recently popular technique of tritium labeling by gas-exposure (the Wilzbach method) has also been discussed in this connection. Although the emphasis in this presentation has been restricted primarily to the application of radiotracers to research in the biological sciences, the coverage is broad enough to be of value to investigators in other fields.
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