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Looking for deceased corn snakes
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Old 02-06-2017, 05:53 PM   #1
Looking for deceased corn snakes

Hello all,

I know this sounds morbid, but I'm looking for deceased corn snakes. This request has much to do with my other request, concerning corn snake eggs.

I'm, a PhD student at Columbia University studying the development of the mammalian lung. However, I want to expand to snakes. The question I'm asking is how, in evolution, the snake lung came to be the mammalian lung. One way of looking at this is by examining which genes are being turned on at what phases of snake lung development. This is what my other request, for eggs is all about.

However, personally I think there's not much point in looking at development if it's unclear what the adult form looks like. While in the past many studies have looked at adult snake lungs, nobody has really taken a good look at a molecular or genetic level: which genes are expressed in the adult, and where? I aim to do this. But, for that of course I need specimens.

I realize people grow attached to their pets, but still I decided that trying is better than doing nothing. And so I ask if anybody has deceased corn snakes, whether they would be willing to donate that specimen to me for scientific purposes?

Hoping to hear from some of you.

Thank you,
Old 02-07-2017, 12:05 PM   #2
Can they be frozen?

Old 02-07-2017, 12:38 PM   #3
Definitely! While fresh is better, frozen should work as well.

The problem with frozen tissues is that ice crystals 'puncture' the cell membranes, which kind of causes cellular fluids to leak, so for detailed structural analysis of the lung frozen tissues might not be adequate, but it should be great for a first 'overview' type of study. At any rate, I cna always extract DNA for other purposes.

At what temperature is the tissue now, and how long has it been frozen?

Thanks for your reply!
Old 02-07-2017, 02:44 PM   #4
I keep animals that die to further study the cause of death (necropsy) and to feed my colony of Dermestid beetles. I love the resulting skeletons! They are frozen along with my feeder mice and rats. So I'm guessing around 0F or so would be the freezer temp. That's pretty much the industry standard.
I also share the cadavers with a vet friend who uses them in labs with his students. What would be best for your purposes? I think shipping fresh would be an issue based on how fast those guys decompose, i.e. stinky boxes.

Old 02-07-2017, 03:19 PM   #5
That sounds great, I'm glad to hear I'm not the first one with whom you share your cadavers. That makes things a bit easier.

I asked around the lab what people usually do to ship tissue. Overnight refrigerated shipping (You can ask FedEx or UPS, whichever you choose, to put a label on it to keep it refrigerated) should do the trick fine for frozen cadavers. If you happen to have fresh tissue, it should be okay to ship it that way too. In any case, you could try to wrap the cadaver in a plastic bag, and put it in perhaps a foam box of some kind to keep it insulated. Adding in a cold pack of some kind would be helpful as well.

Let me verify with my Prof, but I'm pretty sure we can pay for the shipping, as these kind of options tend to get expensive pretty quickly.
Old 02-07-2017, 03:23 PM   #6
Quick update, it doesn't seem like nobody has shipped fresh tissue like that before. I'm unsure how useful frozen tissue would be histology and whatnot, but I should be able to extract RNA and DNA from those tissues. So, what I would suggest (after I confirm with my Prof), is to simple try shipping one cadaver and see how far I get with that. If it turns out to work well, perhaps we can consider shipping more?
Old 02-07-2017, 06:32 PM   #7
If you don't need the whole animal, I could dissect out whatever organs you would need and send them packed in dry ice. The cadavers could be sent that way as well. I know FedEx and UPS allow dry ice shipping. That's how most of us get our feeder shipments.

Old 02-08-2017, 12:11 PM   #8
Well I'm glad to hear it'd be that easy, for dry ice would be perfect.

Essentially I only really need the lung, but others might be interested in different parts of the snake. Already had somebody ask me if they can look at the kidney. So, whole cadaver would be preferable. I'd also be a bit worried that if the delicate lung gets in touch with non-organic materials it might get damaged.

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