MadSci Network: Molecular Biology

Re: Why do researchers use calf thymus DNA to simulate human DNA?

Date: Mon Sep 18 09:16:16 2006
Posted By: Joy Loh, Instructor, Dept. of Pathology & Immunology
Area of science: Molecular Biology
ID: 1158009097.Mb

Hi Jodie,

It's difficult to say exactly why calf thymus DNA was used in the article
you're reading without knowing what the specific experiment is.  In
general, calf thymus DNA is used for a number of purposes, including (1) as
a substrate for DNA-modifying enzymes, (2) in DNA-binding assays, (3) as
carrier DNA, and (4) as a blocking agent in hybridization solutions.

I would guess that calf thymus DNA was used as a non-specific control for
human DNA in your paper.  Why calf thymus DNA?  Probably because it is
readily available in large quantities, and not because of any particular
similarity to human DNA.

Hope this helps, and good luck with your article review.


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