Autoclaving DNA and contamination

Brian Foley brianf at
Tue Jun 21 14:29:51 EST 1994

Scrimshaw, Brian J (SCRIMSHAWB%GRIEHFS at LINCOLN.CRI.NZ) wrote:
: Has anyone done any experiments, or know of any publications,
: about what autoclaving does to DNA? I remember being told that
: autoclaving shears DNA, but not below 150bp, I have never seen a
: reference on this though.

: Since many PCR products are around this size, this would mean
: autoclaving would not eliminate any small contaminating
: fragments.

: Can someone give me some advice on this?

	I don't have any references on this, but I'd doubt that 
autoclaving in an aqueous neutral-pH solution would get rid of DNA
contamination.  Remember that you can harves DNA by rapid boil, you heat 
DNA to 95 degrees at every cylce of PCR and so on.  I doubt that the 
extra 15 degrees is all that is needed.
	Ther are NUMEROUS published methods for decontaminating solutions
and surfaces for PCR.  UV-light is used to cross-link DNA and this is 
very efective.  Search the archives of this list on IUBio (as soon as Don
Gilbert has it fixed up) and you'll find lots of advice.  

	If autoclaving does degrade DNA, I would bet it is somewhat
dependent on the pH of the solution.  

: Brian Scrimshaw
: Wellington
: New Zealand

*  Brian Foley               *     If we knew what we were doing   *
*  Molecular Genetics Dept.  *     it wouldn't be called research  *
*  University of Vermont     *                                     *

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