Chapter 10 : DNA Extraction

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In the activity described in this chapter, students can see a mass of stringy DNA fibers precipitate from bacterial cells or, alternatively, yeast, plant, or animal tissue. The bacterial-DNA extraction is very easy to perform. The procedure provided in this chapter is for home-grown cells; the kits of materials available from scientific supply houses come with their own instructions. Additional procedures for extraction of DNA from yeast, plant, and animal tissue are also provided in this chapter. The preparation of DNA from any cell type involves the same general steps: (i) breaking open the cell (and the nuclear membrane, if applicable), (ii) removing proteins and other cell debris from the nucleic acid, and (iii) final purification. There are several different ways of accomplishing each of these steps, and the method chosen generally depends on how pure the final DNA sample must be and the relative convenience of available options. In the activity described, no attempt is made to purify the DNA, since all that is required is to see it. Students will lyse with detergent and layer a small amount of alcohol on top of the cell lysate. DNA is insoluble in either alcohol and will form a white, weblike mass (precipitate) at the interface of the alcohol and water layers. This DNA is very impure; the mass contains cellular proteins and other debris, but the stringy fibers are DNA. This easy and fun procedure lets students see DNA with their own eyes and shows its fibrous nature.

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. DNA Extraction, p 212-218. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Teachers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816100.ch10
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