phenol substitute for DNA/RNA?

Mon Jul 11 13:32:07 EST 1994

In article <CsoL5r.JFB at>, rcdana at (Richard Dana)

> Substitute for phenol to do DNA and RNA extractions:
> 	Is there a good substitute?
> 	The widespread use of this reagent should be stopped if someone
> 	can find a safer replacement substance. 

If you think about it carefully no reagent which denatures and removes
protein like phenol is ever going to be safe for use. Besides that no one
ever said working in a laboratory was ever going to be safe and free of
injury. Almost any chemical and any protocol contains dangerous and
potenially harmful chemicals that can never be replaced by "safer" ones.
Actually phenol is not nearly as volatile and caustic as many of the other
chemicals used in RNA/DNA extractions.
What about Guanidinium Thiocynate? Beta Mercaptoethanol? Formaldehyde?
Formamide? Even absolute ethanol is not good for you. 

Steven Coon
sdcoon at
University of Michigan Medical Center

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