A new method for extracting genetic information from sea anemones may be able to unlock a treasure trove of secrets about ancient sea ursines, say researchers.
The team at the Max Planck Institute for Marine and Antarctic Research in Germany used a new method called “supercapacitation” to extract DNA from the sea uraniums of the Pacific Northwest.
They have now published their results in Nature Communications.
The team began with samples of sea ures from the eastern Pacific, where they believe there is a much greater diversity of anemone populations than the western Pacific.
The researchers then collected seawater samples from the same region and collected DNA from them.
They then extracted the DNA using a new kind of technique called “substrate electrophoresis” in a process called “electrophoresising”.
“This is a new type of DNA extraction method,” says the lead author, Professor Jörg Büntgen.
“In a typical substrate electrophic technique, the DNA is extracted with a laser, which leaves behind a gel.
The gel is then processed by electrophorning, which breaks the gel and separates the strands of DNA, the ones that make up a gene.”
Professor Bünden explains that a typical electrophoretic method requires a sample to be taken from a specific place.
But this process involves the sample being placed into a container, which will be heated up in a special tank and then cooled.
Once the sample is cooled, it is left in the container for a while, so that it will be able work its way through the gel.
However, the process has a cost.
This is where supercapacitance comes in.
It’s a process by which the gel is heated, then cooled, and then the DNA extracted from the gel at a higher temperature.
Professor Jörge Bünstgen says that supercapacsited DNA extracts more of the DNA, and therefore a much higher percentage of the genetic information, which can be read out.
He explains that this is what makes the method so powerful.
“Supercapacited DNA allows us to extract more DNA from a sample than is normally possible,” he says.
The research team has now successfully extracted genetic information of two of the sea anems, and the research shows that this information can be translated into a variety of useful organisms.
In addition to a few examples, the scientists also collected DNA of several other species, including urchin eggs, squid and sea cucumbers.
“The sea anema is a special case,” says Professor Bünnstgen.
“These are the most common anemes found on Earth, and we found that they were a little different to those other sea aneems, which are normally found in tropical oceans.”
We think that sea urns, squid, and sea ucumber are an example of a sea anemic organism.
“Professor Buhntgen hopes that this research will also be useful for other organisms.”
It’s also important to know what organisms are living in the sea, and how they’re doing,” he explains.
To read more about the study, please click here.
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