Can the strawberry jelly be comparable to the agarose gel?
This research investigates the effect of viscosity of strawberry jelly on the separation of DNA fragments electrophoretically, and its viability as a cheaper alternative to agarose gel.
The ability to resolve single and double stranded DNA samples, some of the simplest applications of gel electrophoresis, was tested across five concentrations of strawberry jelly. The concentrations utilized were 10%, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% of the recommended water content as specified by the manufacturing company. Following the Nature’s Dice guide and equipment pack produced by the University of Reading, DNA samples were treated with BamHI restriction enzyme before the running of each gel, producing results comparable with that of agarose.
The results show that 100% of the recommended water content for the strawberry jelly produced the most comparable results to agarose, although the bands produced were of significantly poorer resolution. The results also suggested that increasing the viscosity promotes a decrease in pore size and thus, impedes the migration of the DNA samples.
It is found through this research that strawberry jelly is not a viable matrix for the separation of DNA fragments under controlled gel electrophoresis conditions.
DNA evidence has been used to solve innumerable crimes in the past two decades, resulting in the incarceration of thousands of murderers and rapists and “inducing guilty pleas from thousands more”. Geneticist Alec Jeffreys developed the technique for DNA profiling which satisfied the law enforcement community’s need for a cast-iron bullet to identify guilty parties and was the first not to have technical problems. Jeffreys’ experiment used restriction enzymes to cut DNA at specific nucleotide sequences and then used a technique called electrophoresis to separate fragments of DNA for analysis.