An enzyme from arctic shrimp can contribute to safer DNA analysis.
Shrimps, mayonnaise and white bread is popular. But shrimp is not just good food. An enzyme from arctic shrimp can contribute to safer DNA analysis.
Every day, analyzed DNA in laboratories worldwide. The analysis used for example in forensic medicine, diagnostics and basic research.
One of the most important tools in this analysis is the PCR, a technology for mass copying of DNA.
The technique is very sensitive since the DNA in a matter of minutes can be produced in millions of copies. It also means that even tiny amounts of contamination will be copied accordingly, which can give misleading answers to the analysis.
DNA contamination can be caused by negligence in the collection of biological material or the equipment in the lab and reagents for the analysis is contaminated by previous analysis via air droplets, equipment or the hands of those who perform the analysis.
A few years ago, researchers discovered in Nofima that arctic shrimp contains an enzyme that chews up certain forms of DNA under certain conditions. This enzyme can thus "eat up" any contamination of samples or equipment in the laboratory.
A group of French scientists who use DNA analysis to study prehistoric fossils, has just completed a study to determine how best to eliminate such potential contamination.
Among the measures they recommend the use of such enzymes. "Best in Test" was the enzyme from arctic shrimp.
- Arctic shrimp are adapted to a cool life in cold waters. It gives the enzyme a great advantage when used in this analysis. For mild heating it stops working. It will not "eat up" the DNA samples analyzed under higher temperatures.
- I hope more people realize the opportunities this provides for better control of DNA analysis, says Senior Scientist Inge W. Nilsen Nofima.
It was Nilsen who discovered the enzyme in the research laboratory for a few years ago.
The Tromso-based company Marine Biochemicals AS, which produces and sells enzymes from the marine environment, has since been further developed and optimized enzyme. It has made it possible to make it commercially available.