Hello! I am back to give a final, bittersweet update regarding my independent project as well as my reflections on my time at TRIP. It is amazing how in as little as five weeks, I have acquired more understanding of the techniques and culture of the lab than I ever thought I could obtain before a college experience.
Picking up from my last post, I had just conducted my first female fertility assay, and was eagerly awaiting the results of the percentage of embryos that had hatched, which would dictate the overall embryo viability of each condition. As of now, I have conducted six female fertility assays total, eight vials per assay, and twice ran two assays consecutively. By now, I could probably do these assays in my sleep! Although there were some hardships-- collecting developmental data on a maximum of 32 vials, sorting on ice as not to affect the fertility of the flies, working against time with the two hour incubation period per trial, experiencing two complete failures with two of my trials-- I was able to gather an immense amount of data, and procure some interesting suggestions. I had hypothesized that the use of individual supplements would increase fertility, while combined supplements would reduce fertility, however, was proved slightly wrong. Separately, fenugreek was able to increase both the number of embryos laid and embryos hatched; black cohosh and folic acid decreased fertility. Even in combinations, fenugreek was not enough to counter the negative effects of the other supplements. These findings then lead to more inquiries such as the effects of different concentration levels, how male fertility is impacted, or how these herbal supplements affect flies over generations. Although suggestions at this point, my data demonstrates that the world population must be extremely cautious when it comes to using herbal supplements, especially in combination, and must keep in mind to consume in moderation.