The properties of high-molecular-weight DNA are usually investigated in neutral aqueous solutions. Strong acids and strong alkaline solutions are obviously unsuitable, as are corrosive solvents, and DNA is insoluble in most organic solvents; precipitation of DNA from aqueous solution with ethanol or isopropanol is therefore frequently used as a purification step. An exception is the organic solvent glycol (ethylene glycol, 1,2-ethanediol, dihydroxyethane, HOCH2CH2OH) and the similar solvent glycerol. Double-stranded DNA remains soluble in salt-containing glycol, although it precipitates in polyethylene glycol. (DNA also remains soluble in formamide, but the double-helical structure of DNA is much less stable in this solvent than in glycol.) However, DNA in glycol has been little investigated during the last half-century.
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The author declares no competing financial interests.
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Lindahl, T. The world of DNA in glycol solution. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 17, 335–336 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrm.2016.66
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