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DNA Extraction from Samples in a Minute

Scientists at the Agharkar Research Institute (ARI) in Pune have developed a novel technology to extract bacterial DNA in just a minute from clinical as well as environmental (water and food) samples, which would make the process of diagnosis faster.

Currently, it takes about three to four hours to extract bacterial DNA from a sample, which can now be done in a minute. The ARI scientists have used specially designed magnetic nanoparticles for this patented technology. Significantly, the technology has now been transferred to the industry and will soon be put to commercial use.

An important aspect of this technology is that the process of extracting the DNA is done in a single step as against the traditional technology where three steps are involved, thus consuming more time. Also, the DNA extracted from the sample using ARI technology is in its purest form.

Scientists developing the technology said this 60-second DNA extraction method would revolutionise the laboratory testing system where DNA needs to be extracted in a highly pure form. Kishore Paknikar, chief investigator of this study, said, "Practically, all molecular biology work ranging from PCR to genome sequencing and analysis require highly pure DNA. We have specially designed magnetic nanoparticles that extract the purest form of DNA in a single step in the shortest period of time." Paknikar, however, refused to divulge more details about the process of this technology as it was patented and already licensed to an industry for commercial use.

ARI scientists Jyutika Rajwade and Milind Choudhari were also involved in the development of this technology. Rajwade said, "It is now possible to have an on-site method for DNA extraction from various clinical, water, food and environmental samples. This method would make microbiological testing of samples rapid, cheap and user-friendly."

Stating that the conventional method of extracting DNA is not only cost-intensive but also requires a lot of chemicals and reagents, director of the Government Institute of Forensic Science in Aurangabad, S G Gupta said, "Considering the time consumed and the process, ARI scientists have achieved a breakthrough in this field of DNA extraction. Use of nano particles will really speed up the process making the technology cost-effective." Gupta also said that the technology will be most useful in areas where DNA extraction needs to be done from a large number of samples.

Prakash Gambhir, ex-professor and head, department of genetics, immunology and biochemistry, Maharashtra University of Health Sciences said that the nature of the technology is rapid and which is its biggest plus point.

"If we can get the DNA from the sample in a matter of a minute, it is definitely going to speed up the diagnosis process. Results will come out faster." Gambhir said that, currently, there are various methods of extracting DNA for diagnosis, but, it takes a minimum of three hours and a maximum of six hours to extract it, depending on the method used.

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