DNA extraction is an important molecular biology procedure. By definition, extraction is taking DNA out of any type of cell for the purpose of analysis. Among the machines used in DNA extraction are the "Bead Beater," which breaks apart the cell to make the DNA available; the "Gel Box," which separates DNA sequences in a gel by using an electric charge; and centrifugation, which spins a solution of DNA and then precipitates (drawing it out) using salts. Once DNA is extracted, its importance drives numerous functions.
One reason DNA extraction is important is that it makes DNA testing possible in the case of criminal investigations. Many times, a suspect is convicted based on DNA samples alone, especially when no other evidence is available.
DNA has been used to identify September 11th victims and casualties of the Jewish Holocaust. Also, DNA played a vital role in the identification of people who were kidnapped and murdered in Argentina in the 1970s, years after the acts took place.
DNA is also important to identify certain origins of wine by tracing the lineage of various grapevines. Also, the molecule is helpful in tracing decreasing populations of various species, including the Grizzly Bear.
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