Phenol–chloroform extraction is a liquid-liquid extraction technique in biochemistry and molecular biology for purifying nucleic acids and eliminating proteins. In brief, aqueous samples are mixed with equal volumes of a phenol:chloroform mixture. The proteins will partition into the organic phase while the nucleic acids (as well as other contaminants such as salts, sugars, etc.) remain in the aqueous phase. If the mixture is acidic, DNA partitions into the organic phase while RNA remains in the aqueous phase.
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