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Extracellular DNA in natural environments: features, relevance and applications
- Nagler, Magdalena, Insam, Heribert, Pietramellara, Giacomo, Ascher-Jenull, Judith
- Applied microbiology and biotechnology 2018 v.102 no.15 pp. 6343-6356
- Animalia, DNA, freshwater, habitats, oceans, sediments, soil
- Extracellular DNA (exDNA) is abundant in many habitats, including soil, sediments, oceans and freshwater as well as the intercellular milieu of metazoa. For a long time, its origin has been assumed to be mainly lysed cells. Nowadays, research is collecting evidence that exDNA is often secreted actively and is used to perform a number of tasks, thereby offering an attractive target or tool for biotechnological, medical, environmental and general microbiological applications. The present review gives an overview on the main research areas dealing with exDNA, depicts its inherent origins and functions and deduces the potential of existing and emerging exDNA-based applications. Furthermore, it provides an overview on existing extraction methods and indicates common pitfalls that should be avoided whilst working with exDNA.