In 1868-69 Friedrich Miescher studied proteins when he discovered that the addition of acid caused the formation of a precipitate which would then dissolve when alkali was added. He recognized that the precipitate had to come from the nuclei of the cells, and he began to study more closely the substances in the nuclei of the cells. Miescher’s first method of extracting nucleic acids (which he named because of their presence in the cell nucleus and precipitation with acid solutions) lasted several weeks from start to finish.

Thanks to scientific advances, 150 years later, laboratory automation allows researchers to perform automated DNA extraction at higher concentrations and higher purity in as little as 20 minutes.

Read more to find out how automation of DNA and RNA extraction has revolutionized the lab.

Modern stages of DNA and RNA extraction

Extraction and purification of DNA usually requires four steps.

  1. Disintegration of the cell membrane or wall and core membrane;
  2. Denaturing nucleic acid-protein complexes found in the nucleus;
  3. Inactivating DNases that degrade and destroy a DNA molecule; and
  4. Remove impurities such as proteins, lipids and carbohydrates.

RNA extraction is more difficult because single-stranded RNA is inherently less stable than double-stranded DNA. Because RNA degrades very rapidly on its own, specific steps must be performed quickly and accurately to ensure RNA stabilization.

Advantages of automated DNA extraction

When performing experiments that require DNA extraction, it is vital to obtain purified DNA samples that are free of proteins, enzymes, or other contaminants.

Automated DNA extraction with DNA extraction robots is the only way to ensure that continuously pure DNA is extracted from almost any sample with sufficient quality to allow efficient testing and analysis. Older DNA extraction kits were quite prone to human error, leading to inaccurate results and wasted time, money, and materials.

Simply put, the use of an automated DNA extraction device produces consistent and reproducible results with speed, accuracy, and reliability while minimizing the risk of contamination.

COVID-19 testing by automated DNA / RNA extraction

Given the persistence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, more than 16,000,000 COVID-19 tests are performed daily in the world. The only way to ensure that everyone being tested needs fast, accurate, and affordable testing is to use automation. Automatic DNA extraction provides all of this.

Using automated DNA extraction, viral RNA can be extracted and identified from nasal wipes subjected to SARS-CoV-2 testing. This method of using modified automated DNA extraction has been shown to provide the rapid, reliable, and cost-effective testing necessary to keep up with the need for additional testing. The DNA extraction robot is able to perform the test with smaller sample sizes and without the risk of catching COVID-19 or human errors and producing false results.

Given the benefits of automated DNA extraction for accurate testing of SARS-CoV-2 virus RNA, there is no reason for any laboratory interested in COVID-19 testing or experimentation to delay the procurement of an automated DNA extraction device.

Initial costs are quickly offset in the long run at significantly lower costs. Those laboratories that attempt to perform clinical trials or understand COVID-19 with conventional DNA extraction kits and human technicians are so far behind laboratories with automation. Contact Hudson Robotics today request a hearing, learn more about us Automatic DNA extraction equipment or how we can help you with multiple automation options to meet all your lab needs.

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