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Why is ethanol used in DNA extraction?

Posted January 22, 2020


Answer

The main role of monovalent cations and ethanol is to eliminate the solvation shell that surrounds the DNA, thus allowing the DNA to precipitate in pellet form. Additionally, ethanol helps to promote DNA aggregation. Usually, about 70 percent of ethanol solution is used during the DNA washing steps. This allows the salts to dissolve while minimizing DNA solubility. The last 100 percent ethanol wash which is mainly employed helps to promote convenient ethanol evaporation from DNA pellet, thus preventing any carryover. Ethanol is preferred to water since its dielectric constant is lower.