does alcohol destroy dna?

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benny
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does alcohol destroy dna?

Post by benny » Sun Oct 23, 2005 11:56 am

i've just had a friendly argument with a fellow student at my university. we were discussing the possibility of cloning extinct animals ie a tasmanian tiger. a specimen of one of these animals is in a jar of alcohol in a museum somewhere. my fellow student says that dna extracted from this specimen could hypothetically be usable, due to the creature being preserved so well by the alcohol. i thought that alcohol destroyed cell membranes, or denatured them. does it have any effects on cell contents? dna is a pretty feeble molecule chemically. wouldn't alcohol destroy hydrogen bonds holding dna together?
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wylon
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Post by wylon » Sun Oct 23, 2005 12:24 pm

well putting alcohol in jars was to prevent from decomposition of its pysical form. the alcohol should effect the dna but not totaly destroy it.

sdekivit
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Post by sdekivit » Sun Oct 23, 2005 4:32 pm

No! ethanol doesn't destroy cell membranes or DNA or what else ! It removes the water around a molecule and hence it precipitates. But you can resolve the DNA again so the DNA is not destroyed by ethanol.

benny
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Post by benny » Wed Oct 26, 2005 3:07 pm

thanks for that.
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canalon
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Post by canalon » Wed Oct 26, 2005 4:05 pm

sdekivit wrote:No! ethanol doesn't destroy cell membranes or DNA or what else ! It removes the water around a molecule and hence it precipitates. But you can resolve the DNA again so the DNA is not destroyed by ethanol.


And considering that most DNA extraction protocol ends by ethanol precipitation of DNA, you really do not expect it to degrade your samples :D
Patrick

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