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Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a biological molecule, which consists of the biological instructions making each species unique. It carries genetic instructions in all living beings and makes up the genome of an organism. The instructions are passed from one generation to the offspring during reproduction. It aids in synthesizing a protein through genes, as genes make 1% of DNA. Other than constituting the genes, DNA is involved in regulating the functions of proteins and processes in the body. To unravel the truths involved, scientists extract the DNA and apply it in different techniques for studies. In earlier articles, the steps and the methods involved in the extraction of DNA have been discussed. The current article throws visuals on the uses and application of the extracted DNA in different sectors.
DNA is extracted for a better understanding of the process and phenomenon. Below are some significant uses and applications of extracted DNA.
DNA is a crucial component in several criminal investigations, as DNA can be extracted from skin, hair or blood. DNA is used by forensic teams to determine if a person is a suspect. Sometimes, a person’s presence in the vicinity of a crime scene is proven by DNA. In addition, DNA proves someone’s guilt or innocence. An organization called “innocence project'' is involved in proving the innocence of people. DNA extracted is used in the genetic fingerprinting process, where genetic material from an individual is matched with other genetic material available. It is useful to close the cases, which have been unsolved for years.
DNA extraction is helpful in the determination of the paternity of a child. If a person wants to prove he is a father, DNA from the father and the baby can help to prove the person’s claim to paternity. It is useful when an adopted child is attempting to find out the biological parent.
DNA analysis is necessary to know about the ancestors of a person. Even the places of ancestors can also be known through DNA. With the advent of modern kits, the location of the birthplaces of foreparents can also be known. Living relatives of the ancestors and ancestors’ medical and food conditions can also be detected. Comparison of DNA of two living people is used to determine whether they are closely related.
DNA extraction is necessary for diagnosing medical conditions officially, especially in the case of genetic diseases. Examples of the diseases are Huntington’s disease, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, fragile x syndrome, Tay-Sachs disease, and Down syndrome. DNA is also useful to identify whether a person is a carrier of the disease, even if there is no symptom of the disease.
The extracted DNA is useful for the genetic engineering of plants and animals. In the case of plants, DNA is used in the identification, isolation, and extraction of desired genes to replicate in the subsequent generations. DNA is extracted from plants with desired traits and passed into other plant’s genomes. Beet crops have been immune to the herbicide Roundup.
In animals, DNA extraction is used to transfer one animal’s DNA to another animal and cloning of animals. Editing a single gene and transplanting a gene from one animal to another has occurred. Jellyfish genes have been transplanted into pigs, making them glow in the dark.
DNA is used in the creation of vaccines, which is necessary to control and stop the disease. Even though whole DNA vaccines are not approved now, they are utilized in considerable animal vaccines and the development of human vaccines. An example is the Hepatitis B vaccine, which is prepared using recombinant DNA technology.
As already known, hormones are essential for the development and growth of the body. DNA extraction aids in the development of hormones via recombinant DNA technology. Two majorly developed hormones include:
Insulin: People having diabetes often require insulin, especially those who are having type 1 diabetes. Recombinant DNA technology provides a large quantity of insulin.
Human growth hormone: People with renal carcinoma, growth issues, and Turner’s syndrome can benefit from the recombinant human growth hormone.
With a genetic mutation, unmutated DNA can be introduced into the stem cells of a person, replacing the defective genes with normal ones. Though this technique has not been perfected, gene therapy displays promise for correcting inherited abnormalities permanently. CRISPR, a new technique in the gene-editing field, looks promising for abnormal genetic conditions.
Gene sequencing, detection of viruses and bacteria in the environment, genetic causes of disease, and developments of drugs are other applications of extracted DNA.
FISH is a kind of molecular technique, which is used for the identification and enumeration of specific bacteria groups.
T-RFLP is utilized for the identification, characterization, and quantification of spatial and temporal patterns in marine bacterioplankton communities.
Whole genomes or portions of genomes and extrachromosomal elements can be sequenced for comparison with the existing sequences, stored in the public database.
Digestion of the extracted DNA with the restriction enzymes is performed for the preparation of DNA for subsequent manipulation. In a restriction enzyme digest, 0.5 - 10 microgram DNA is used. DNA is digested with a rare cutter (Notl) for the generation of larger fragments, with a common cutter to generate smaller fragments or with particular combinations of restriction enzymes. RNA, salts, and organic solvents can interfere with restriction enzyme digestion and analysis of digested fragments.
For the preparation of genomic DNA for subsequent applications like cloning, sequencing, and genotyping, the PCR technique is used. Fluorescent dye is included with PCR if subsequent analysis needs to be automated. The quantity of DNA needed for PCR amplification is 5-50 ng. The surveillance of cells and tissues for genes associated with cancer may have been amplified or deleted during the development of tumors. Unbiased development of genomic copy changes by PCR process and impurity differences in samples in the comparison of diseases versus normal cells are revealed in amplification. Contaminants like hemoglobin, heparin from blood, and trace detergents can inhibit the PCR amplification process. Poor quality of DNA isolation can lead to poor results in PCR. Samples should be stored correctly, minimizing the degradation from nucleases.
Definition of DNA and its significance has been provided briefly as background information. Different applications and uses of DNA have been discussed in detail. Degradation state of samples, purity level, exogenous DNA contamination, the quantity of sample, and cross-contamination of samples are all the factors that come into play in influencing the quality of results in numerous applications. If the extraction is properly done, the results are excellent for usage and reproducible.