Easy DNA

Many cells have tough cell walls to protect them from their environment. DNA studies require breaking open the cell in order to extract the DNA. Breaking down cell walls often requires harsh chemical or physical methods, which are technically challenging and frequently damage the DNA. However, with extreme halophiles, like Halobacterium sp. NRC-1 the cells can be readily broken open as the cell membrane is weakened easily with hypotonic solutions (solutions possessing lower solute concentration than the interior of the cell, e.g. pure water). The cell lysate that results contains RNA, proteins, and most importantly for the purpose of this lab, DNA. When alcohol is added to the cell lysate, DNA precipitates out of the solution in the form of long fibrous molecules, which can be spooled by winding them around a stick. For more information, see:

Extremely Easy DNA

Two interesting questions for students to consider: 'What sparked life on Earth? How did DNA become the genetic material?'

Carolina Biological Supply Kit covers

As a companion to this website, we have developed a comprehensive set of laboratory exercises using Halobacterium NRC-1 as the model organism for teaching a wide range of subjects, including exponential growth, colony formation, mutation, antibiotic resistance, motility, flotation, DNA function, transformation, complementation, biotechnology, genomics, and bioinformatics.