DNA isolation is a routine procedure to collect DNA for subsequent molecular or forensic analysis. There are three basic and two optional steps in a DNA extraction:

  1. Breaking the cells open, commonly referred to as cell disruption or cell lysis, to expose the DNA within. This is commonly achieved by chemical and physical methods-blending, grinding orsonicating the sample.
  2. Removing membrane lipids by adding a detergent or surfactants.
  3. Removing proteins by adding a protease (optional but almost always done).
  4. Removing RNA by adding an RNase (often done).
  5. Precipitating the DNA with an alcohol — usually ice-cold ethanol or isopropanol. Since DNA is insoluble in these alcohols, it will aggregate together, giving a pellet upon centrifugation. This step also removes alcohol-soluble salt. 

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