TLDR: Can anyone state a extraction and isolation method(s) for genomic DNA for hair that will be used for PCR, in detail is preferable since I am a novice.

I tried googling for DNA extraction methods for hair(follicles and/or root) and found various sources, the one that had the most detail involved the use or organic compounds we do not have access to. Is their preferred method of extracting DNA from hair, given that the genomic DNA would be in low amounts, I figure that might have something to do with the extraction process.

  • $\begingroup$ Can you please give us some background? It would make answering the question easier. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    May 30, 2015 at 22:31
  • $\begingroup$ journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/… $\endgroup$
    – MattDMo
    May 31, 2015 at 0:03
  • $\begingroup$ @Chris That was pretty much all the background there is, I am a undergrad novice who needs to extract DNA from hair for a proffesor's research. He sent me on this task as a way of self learning i believe, but I guess I am not "up to snuff", given my asking here. $\endgroup$
    – Ro Siv
    May 31, 2015 at 13:15
  • $\begingroup$ @MattDMo I saw that source, but i lack the powder(s) to do it. $\endgroup$
    – Ro Siv
    May 31, 2015 at 13:18
  • $\begingroup$ @RoSiv When you write that you have no access to certain organic compounds without specifying what you can do, it is hard to give recommendations. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    May 31, 2015 at 13:40

1 Answer 1


I've been trying to figure out something that works for some time. I have recently tried 3 cheap protocols using commonly available lab reagents. I was using buccal samples (0.2 ml of spit).

1) Boil the sample in Tris EDTA Buffer 2) NaOH Extraction 3) Direct N Lyse

I compared them to a genomic DNA extraction kit (FAST DNA Prep - MP Biomedicals).

I have heard lots of people use NaOH extraction to get DNA from tissue and cell preps, but none of the first three worked for me after 2-3 tries. One of the people in my lab said that I could replace the bead beater with vortexing with glass beads.

I tried vortexing with beads with all four methods, including the kit and only the kit worked. I got a PCR result from control primers.

When you look at the costs of getting all the ingredients for the buffers kits are not so expensive - $1-$2 per sample.

A lot of these kits can handle solid animal tissues, though the one I have doesn't specifically cite hair. I would try it out.

I guess the point of my post was that there are lots of simple sounding published methods, but they don't always produce results without a bunch of debugging. I know alkaline lysis has worked for several people I know and is the basis of the kits. Its pretty simple.

That's my experience anyway.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Awesome to see you active (you are one of two with 20k+ and full privileges after graduation :-) ! However, I was wondering if the buccal cavity contains hair, given OPs question? $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    May 31, 2015 at 13:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Great, interesting, +1! $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    May 31, 2015 at 22:25

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