Methods of DNA Extraction in Plants


Extracting genetic material from plants has become an important part of modern mechanized agriculture. By extracting and modifying DNA, genetically modified plant species can be produced that are resistant to certain herbicides and pesticides, thus increasing yields in fields using patented crops and their matching pesticides and herbicides.

Reaons for Extraction

  • Extracting genetic material from plants is the first step in creating genetically modified crops. In addition to resistance to herbicides and pesticides, genetic modifications can be made to keep fruits and vegetables fresh longer. Once a plant's genetic material is isolated, genes from other plants and animals can be inserted. The genetic material can then be put into a living plant and propagated.

CTAB Method

  • Cetyltrimethyl ammonium bromide (CTAB) extraction is a method of extracting plant DNA that removes polyphenolics from plant cell walls. Polyphenolics are compounds with long chains that resemble DNA and precipitate in similar ways. This process uses isoamyl alcohol, also known as chloroform, which is both volatile and toxic. In the process, isopropanol is also used. Isopropanol is both irritating and flammable. The CTAB method also uses liquid nitrogen as part of the extraction process.

    In this process, CTAB is used to soften cell walls to allow the polyphenolics to leak out. Before soaking in CTAB, the material is ground, often with ball bearings after being frozen in liquid nitrogen. Cell debris is then isolated by centrifugal spinning and isoamyl alcohol and isopropanol are used to isolate the DNA material.

SDS Potassium Acetate Method

  • The sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) potassium acetate method of DNA extraction is another common way to extract plant genetic material. This method uses alcohol to break down cell walls. The softened plant material can then be soaked in an SDS solution. Potassium acetate is then used to further precipitate cell debris for subsequent processing and DNA extraction. Isopropynol is often used in the final DNA extraction process.


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